Port Harcourt — The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, at the weekend convicted and sentenced 11 Nigerians to different jail terms for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The convicts are Modi Adamu; Mohammed Sani; Magaji Habib; Dahiru Abubakar; Yasir Muhammed; Bello Sharif; Hussaini Abdullahi; Alabi Obitoye Olayide; Uche Okafor; Ogbonnaya Onyebuchi and Badamasi Suleiman.
They were arraigned on Friday, August 2, 2019 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, 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 one-count separate charge reads: “That you Modi Adamu sometime in January, 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did distribute petroleum product (AGO) with a MAN Tanker with registration number YBD181XA without a licence 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.”
As defendants, they pleaded guilty to the one-count separate charge when it was read to them.
In view of their guilty plea, prosecuting counsels: S. Chime; M. T. Iko, N. A. Dodo; J. N Dogonyaro, F. O. Amama, and Ramiah Ikhanade prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Counsels to the defendants led by N. Okocha and A.B Abdullahi did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution counsels, following which Justice A.T. Mohammed convicted and sentenced Modi Adamu and Mohammed Sani to two years imprisonment with an option of N100,000.00 fine each.
While Magaji Habib; Dahiru Abubakar; Yasir Muhammed; Bello Sharif; Hussaini Abdullahi; Alabi Obitoye Olayide; Uche Okafor, Ogbonnaya Onyebuchi and Badamasi Suleiman were convicted and sentenced to only a fine of N100,000.00 each.
According to EFCC, Acting Head, Media, and Publicity, Tony Orilade, all the convicts were intercepted by operatives of the Nigerian Army, Six Division, Port Harcourt in the period spanning from 2017 to 2019 at different locations in Rivers State.
Orilade said they were caught bunkering illegally refined AGO in nylon bags, trucks, tankers and trailers with registration numbers YBD181XA, KMC137ZV, WAS53XA, RYM223XA, XU635PHC, DKW07XA, NSL07ZL, MGN223XA, KMC724DBM, and XV993EKY, respectively without appropriate licences.