A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Magistrate strikes out suit against three oil dealers for want of jurisdiction

Scales-of-Justice26 October 2013, Makurdi – A Makurdi Magistrate, Mrs Theresa Wergba, on Friday struck out a suit against three persons accused of illegal dealing in petroleum and allied products, for want of jurisdiction.

The accused persons, Tyover Ahile, Ebuka Ejebi and John Ugwu, were charged with criminal conspiracy, illegal dealing in petroleum and allied products without licence and theft.

According to the prosecutor, Sgt Michael Ewoh, a team of Operation Zenda, led by Insp. Sunday Abah, arrested the accused persons on the act while on patrol on Igbor-Aliade Road on Oct. 12.

“The patrol team reported that the accused persons were arrested while they were stealing petroleum and allied products from MTN Bulk Tank at site number 4916 at Mbakume in Igbor area of Gwer-West Local Government Area of Benue.

“The team explained that the accused persons had already stolen 500 litres of the product valued at N82,000 and loaded them inside a J5 bus with registration number VD 349 ENU and a red Toyota corolla salon car with registration number AH 36 TKP when luck ran out on them and they were arrested.

“During police investigation, the accused persons were said to have made confessional statement and led police detectives to their illegal petroleum and allied products storage and receivers hideout beside Austoma Filling Station in Aliade.”

The prosecutor said that the police detectives allegedly recovered 74 Jerry-cans of the products, valued at N500,000 from the hideout.

Ewoh alleged that the accused confessed to stealing the product from several MTN bulk tanks across the state.

Ewoh said the act was contrary to the Penal Code and the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 1984.

However, when the case came up for mention before a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court, the magistrate struck it out and advised police to arraign the accused in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Wergba said that the accused could only be tried for the allegation by a Federal High Court.

– Leadership

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