A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday remanded 19 suspected oil pipeline vandals for allegedly dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority.

Justice Aikawa order that they should be kept behind bars after they were arraigned before him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three count charges of conspiracy, unlawful dealing in petroleum product and illegal storage of petroleum product.

The accused persons are: Ayeni John, Emmanuel Tosu, Emopin Moneyin, Malade Aiyetimiyi, Odroja Ojuene, Ikedehinbu Idowu, Abogun Ota, Elamah Augustine, Olarotimi Elikanah, Thankgod Benjamin, Abbas Friday and Victor Goldsmith.

Others are: Gbenga Thomas, Ibane Austine, Idowu Surprise, Asemia Thomas, Agbayoh Lawrence, Saliu Malik, Ayetiniyi Ademola.

According to the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Abubakar Idris, the defendants were arrested by the men of the Nigerian Navy sometimes in September, 2018, with 21,840 liters of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) popularly called Diesel without appropriate licence to deal in the product.

Idris also claimed that after the conclusion of investigation by the Nigerian Navy, the defendants were handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.

He insisted that the offences are contrary to Sections 3(6), 1(17) and 4 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. And punishable under Sections 17 of the same Act.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty on the charge when it was read to them.

The prosecutor then urged the court to fix a date for trial and also to remand the defendants in prison.

But the defend lawyer, Sunday Odueso told the court that he had filed his clients’ bail applications and that same have been served on the prosecution.

The lawyer therefore urged the court to hear the bail applications, because the defendants have been in detention since September, 2018, when they were arrested by the Nigerian Navy.

Responding, the prosecutor told the court that he needed time to study and file a counter-affidavit to the defendants’ bail applications.

Based on the development, Justice Aikawa ordered that all the defendants be remanded in prison pending when their bail applications would be heard and determined.

The judge, however, said the date of adjournment shall be communicated to both parties.

Count one of the charges against the defendants read: “that you, Ayeni John, Emmanuel Tosu, Emopin Moneyin, Malade Aiyetimiyi, Odroja Ojuene, Ikedehinbu Idowu, Abogun Ota, Elamah Augustine, Olarotimi Elikanah, Thankgod Benjamin, Abbas Friday, Victor Goldsmith, Gbenga Thomas, Ibane Austine, Idowu Surprise, Asemia Thomas, Agbayoh Lawrence, Saliu Malik, Ayetiniyi Ademola Between August and September, 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in about 21,840 litres of Automotive 605 Oil (AGO) without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section ”17) of the some Act.

And Count two reads: “that you, Ayeni John, Emmanuel Tosu, Emopin Moneyin, Malade Aiyetimiyi, Odroja Ojuene, Ikedehinbu Idowu, Abogun Ota, Elamah Augustine, Olarotimi Elikanah, Thankgod Benjamin, Abbas Friday, Victor Goldsmith, Gbenga Thomas, Ibane Austine, Idowu Surprise, Asemia Thomas, Agbayoh Lawrence, Saliu Malik, Ayetiniyi Ademola Between August and September, 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without appropriate licence dealt with about 21,840 Litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and thereby committed on offence contrary and punishable under Section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

While the third count reads: “that you, Emmanuel Tosu, Thankgod Benjamin, Abbas Friday, Victor Goldsmith, Gbenga Thomas, Ibane Austine, Idowu Surprise, Asemia Thomas and Agbayon Lawrence Between August and September, 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without appropriate licence stored about 21,840 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) in two fibre boots and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.

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