03 December 2014, Lagos – Twelve Ghanaian fishermen were, yesterday, arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, over alleged vandalism and theft of petroleum products.
The accused are Ferdinard Gbadonde, Deny Atika, Isaac Zola, Raphael Awonsu, Friday Ukpati, Tose Loko, Kokunu Nanani, Kokunu Koku, Fatai Nkpati, Sule Nkpati, Medai Awonsu and Jeremy Agofia.
They are standing trial on a four-count charge of conspiracy, vandalism, stealing and sale of petroleum products. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.The prosecutor told the court that the accused committed the offence on July 12 at 4 a.m.
He said that they were apprehended within the Nigerian territorial waters, close to Ibereko village in Badagry, Lagos.According to the prosecutor, about 540 kegs of 25 litres of petrol and 250 drums, containing about 250 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene, was recovered from the accused, who were on their way to Seme.
He said the products were investigated to have been obtained from a vandalised pipeline within the locality.According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 1 (7), 3 (c) and 117 of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
After the plea of the accused had been taken, the prosecutor then applied that they be remanded in custody, pending trial.In reaction, counsel to the accused, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of the accused.He told the court presided by Justice John Tsoho, that the accused had earlier been arraigned before Justice Okon Abang in August, during the court’s vacation.
He argued that they were arrested on the high sea on their way to Seme, adding that the accused would abscond if granted bail.Justice Tsoho, however, in a short ruling upheld the submission of defence counsel on the grounds that the nationality of an accused was not a determinant factor in granting bail.
The court, however, ordered the accused to be remanded at the Ikoyi prisons until they perfect their bail terms.He adjourned the case to January 26, 2015 for trial.