Justice A. T Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Wednesday, convicted and sentenced twelve oil thieves to a fine of N100.000 each for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The convicts are: Kabiru Saidu, Saleh Muhammed, Yusuf Bala, Salisu Usman, Hamisu Sha’Ibu, Aliyu Muhammed, Umar Mohammed, Muhammed Aliya, Sunday Emmanuel Udo, Malam Garba Abubakar, Ifeanyi Duru and Sani Haruna.
They were arraigned on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on a one-count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The count charge reads, “That you Kabiru Saidu, sometimes in, 2017 at Abuloma, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did distribute petroleum product (AGO) conveyed in a Truck with registration number XL 985 KRD and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4(1) of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded guilty when the charges were read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels, A. Osu, C. O Ugwu, Esin-Otu Ebipade, F. C Obinwa and M. T Iko prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Counsels to the defendants, M. M. Suleiman, Babatunde Opadola and E. X Eboh did not oppose the prayer of the prosecution.
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced the defendants to a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) each. The judge also ordered that the products carried by each of the offending trucks should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Troubles started for the convicts when they were intercepted by men of the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, at different locations in Port Harcourt and accused them of illegal dealing in petroleum products without a licence.
Investigations revealed that the convicts were arrested alongside trucks with registration numbers: XL 985 KRD; XE 471 GUS; KMC 846 XA; NSR 08 ZL; GME 185 XX; MKA 719 ZB; JMT 155 YR; BDG 196 XS; KAF 681 XA; EZA 766 XA and XR 690 PHC. They were later investigated and prosecuted by the EFCC.