Court remands 12 oil thieves nabbed by Navy

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the prison remand of a gang of 12 oil thieves at the Ikoyi Prison.

The accused are Christopher Okorie, John Mbah, Tammy Bami, Osi Prince, Chukwuji Festus, Kabiru Adeyemo and Ayannubi Moses.

Others are Sopuruchukwu Chukwudi, Obinna  Ebu, Abdullahi Oyelade, Charles Ubey and Achia Vincent.

The remand order was made by Justice Muhammed Idris after the accused were arraigned before him along with their companies Phonic Marine Services Limited and Banquet Chambers Nigeria Limited, as well as their vessel named MV PSV DEBY.

They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on four counts of the alleged offence.

The gang was said to have been rounded up by the Nigerian Navy at about 3.22am on September 3, last year, at Alero Turning Base, near Bakaris jetty.

They were allegedly caught in possession of 600,000 litres of Automated Gasoline Oil, otherwise known as diesel, loaded in their vessel named, MV PSV DEBY.

The prosecution told the judge that the accused dealt in the product without a valid licence or any lawful authorisation.

The accused were charged with the offences of conspiracy, forgery and illegal dealing in petroleum products.

EFCC counsel, M. F. Owebe, said they acted contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2014 and were liable to punishment under Section 1(17) (a) of the same Act.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the four counts levelled against them.

Following their plea, the prosecutor urged the court for a short adjourned date to open trial and equally applied that the accused be remanded in the prison custody pending trial.

The accused lawyers, V. C. Ude  and A. A. Adetunji, however, informed the court that they had filed bail applications for the accused persons and equally needed a short date for hearing.

After entertaining the parties, Justice Idris adjourned till January 26 to hear the bail applications of the accused persons.

He ordered their prison remand pending the hearing of the bail applications.

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