Pipeline vandal escapes from court after arraignment

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A suspected pipeline vandal, Kingsley Ibeto, on Thursday escaped from a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, shortly after he was arraigned on a two-count charge of unlawful dealing in petroleum product.

Ibeto was charged before Justice Professor Chuka Obiozor, on the alleged crime by the Nigeria Civil and Security Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The offences according to the prosecutor, Mrs. Ezeli Rita, are contrary to section 3 (6) of miscellaneous offence act, Cap. M17, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 1(7) of the same act.

The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After the defendant had pleaded not guilty to the offence, and his lawyer, Babatunde Adeyanju, in an attempt to secure his bail, informed the court that he has filed a bail application and that the said application is yet to be in court’s file.

However, Justice Obiozor, told the lawyer that the application was not in his file, and consequently stood down the matter for the court Registrar to properly bring the application before the court.

The prosecutor had also told the court that she was yet to be served with the bail application. However, while the matter was stood down, the defendant absconded.

When the matter was recalled after his bail application had been brought before the court for hearing, the defendant was nowhere to be found.

All calls put to him by his lawyer were ignored and unanswered. All efforts to locate him within the court premises failed.

His lawyer, in an uncomfortable voice, pleaded with the court to grant him short adjournment, to enable him fish out the defendant.

Consequently, Justice Obiozor adjourned the matter.

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