Court jails two oil thieves in Port Harcourt

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Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced two oil thieves to two years  imprisonment each,   for dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate license.

The convicts:  Uba Promise and Ikechukwu Christian were convicted on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, after pleading “guilty” to one count separate charge preferred against them by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The lone count charge read: “That you Uba Promise and Ekele Ekibor (still at large) on or about the 1st day of August, 2021 at Nigeria Port Authority, Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority to  deal in petroleum products,  dealt in  forty five thousand litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO),  laden in a Mark Tanker Truck with registration number: Lagos KEK 166 XA and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17,  Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(17) (b) of the same Act.

“That you  Ikechukwu Christian on or about the 1st day of August, 2021 at Nigeria Port Authority, Onne, Port Harcourt Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority to  deal in petroleum product, dealt in  forty five thousand litres of Automotive Gas Oil( AGO) laden in a Mark Tanker Truck with registration number: Lagos KEK 166 XA and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17,  Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(17) (b) of the same Act”.

They both pleaded guilty when the charge was read to them.

In view of the pleas of the defendants, prosecution

counsel: S. A. Kyenge, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

Defence counsel,  Innocent Nwakpudolu,  however,  prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that, “they are first -time offenders and do not have previous criminal records. In addition, they are heads of their respective families”.

Justice Ajoku convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years imprisonment each,  with different options of fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000.00) and Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N350,000.00) respectively,  which is to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The court also ordered that, the 45,000 Automotive Gas Oil arrested with the convicts be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The product shall be sold by the EFCC and the proceeds paid into the Recovery Account of the Commission. The Judge also ordered the release of the Mark Tanker Truck with registration number (Lagos SEK 166 XA) to the owner. This is in addition to an order that the convicts should sign an undertaking of good behaviours with the court.

The convicts were arrested on August 1, 2021  by operatives of the EFCC at the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) Onne, Port Harcourt,  Rivers for suspicious dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate license.