Court jails 11 oil thieves in Delta

Illustrative picture. PHOTO CREDIT: Telegraph

A Federal High Court in Warri, Delta State, has sentenced 11 persons to three years imprisonment each, having found them guilty of a two-count charge of illegal dealing in petroleum products.

The charge was preferred against the convicts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office.

EFCC spokesperson, Tony Oriola, in a statement gave the names of the convicts.

They are Ephraim Akpan, Agadagba Ochuko, Clement Tommy, Oyayefa Abonne, Bousou Kereotu, Dereye Harry, Lucky Abonne, Dapo Obdare, Friday Ibude, Ebi Ekokeme, and Vincent Elayegha.

He said officers of the Nigerian Navy arrested the convicts and their vessel, MT Petroitti, on May 23, 2014, around Ofoma oil terminal in Delta State following a tip-off.

Oriola said about 272 metric tons of substance suspected to be crude oil were seized in the incident and handed over to the EFCC.

He said the convicts were first arraigned on March 4, 2015, and pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting the case to go into full trial.

However, Justice M.S Abubakar in his judgment sentenced each of them to three years in prison on count one, with an option of fine of N200,000 each, while the vessel, MT Petroitti was also found guilty on count two and sentenced to a fine of N500, 000.

Meanwhile, the trial judge further ordered the forfeiture of the vessel and the cargo onboard (about 272 metric tons of crude oil) to the federal government.

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