16 December 2015, Lagos—Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced nine foreign citizens to five years imprisonment each after convicting them for stealing 3,423,097 metric tons of crude oil from Nigeria.
Five of the convicts are Filipinos while the other four are from Bangladesh.
The convicts were intercepted by the Nigerian Navy on March 27, 2015 while they were trying to take the stolen product loaded in their vessel, MT Asteris, out of the country.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Buba convicted them on four counts in relation to the crime and sentenced each of them to a jail term of five years with an option of N20 million.
Handing down the sentence, the judge said he was satisfied that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which prosecuted the convicts, proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.
“The case of the prosecution is as clear as the daylight,” the judge held, adding that the failure of the convicts to supply the evidence that they had lawful permit to deal in crude oil further strengthened the prosecution’s case.
The judge said the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were not controverted.
He agreed with the PW5 who stated that the product was illegally sourced in Nigeria as “the Department of Petroleum Resources confirmed to the EFCC that MT Asteris was not lincensed to deal with crude oil in Nigeria.”
The judge further stated that it was the likes of the convicts that had made Nigeria a laughing stock in the eye of the world.
He said it was not right for anyone to deprive the country the enjoyment of its natural resources through illegal means.