Port Harcourt — The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced one Olaniyi Oluwasayo Oladele, to seven years in prison with an option of N100,000 fine, for illegally dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence.
The presiding judge, Justice J. K. Omotosho, said the offence contravenes Section 1(17) (a) of Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the revised edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under the same Act.
The defendant was prosecuted alongside one Sule Ezra and a barge, MV Idoma River, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Port Harcourt Zonal office, on a three count charge.
One of the count reads: “That you, Olaniyi Oluwasayo and Sule Ezra on or about 5th February, 2017 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: distribute, deal in petroleum product without appropriate license and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (17) of the same Act”.
Another Count reads: “That you Olaniyi Oluwasayo Oladele and MV Idoma River 101, on or about the 5th of February, 2017 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourabe Court did adulterate about 140,000litres of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, conveyed in a Barge christened, “MV IDOMA RIVER 101″ and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) Act 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (18) (a) (i) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges when it was read to them.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel A. I Arogha, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly, while the defence counsel prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders with no previous conviction record.
Justice Omotosho convicted the first defendant to seven years imprisonment or option of N100,000 fine on the second count, and five years imprisonment with an option of N100,000 fine on count three. The sentences are to run concurrently.
The 3rd defendant, M.V Idoma River 101, was ordered forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The second defendant, Sule Ezra was discharged and acquitted.
EFCC Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said the defendant’s journey to prison started in February 5, 2017 when they were arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy at Akpos Jetty, Abuloma in Port Harcourt.
Orilade said the vessel, MV Idoma River 101, with about 140,000liters of adulterated AGO and its crew of six was discovered to have been diverted from its approved destination to load the product from another vessel, Silver Point, in Abuloma jetty.
He said the vessel and crew members were handed over to EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.