In a ruling handed down by Justice E.A. Obile of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, five oil thieves have been convicted and sentenced to various prison terms.
The Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, also known as the EFCC, was responsible for bringing the convicts to court.
Those found guilty included Salisu Abubakar, Aliyu Mohammed Umar, Mohammed Sambo Yahaya, Musa Mohammed, and Abbas Melle, all of whom pleaded “guilty” to charges of dealing in petroleum products without the proper license.
Melle was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, while Abubakar, Umar, Yahaya, and Mohammed were each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
In addition, Abubakar, Umar, and Yahaya were sentenced to prison under Section 1 (1) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2007; Mohammed and Melle were found guilty under Section 1 (18) (a) I of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2007. Abubakar, Umar,
Abubakar, Mohammed, and Melle were sentenced to prison by Justice Obile on Monday, June 28, 2021, while Umar and Yahaya were sentenced to prison on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
One of the convicts was charged with a single count of a separate charge, which read as follows:
That you Aliyu Mohammed Umar on or about the 31st day of December, 2017 at Port Harcourt-Aba Road, Port Harcourt Rivers state within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court dealt in petroleum products to wit: Automated Gas Oil (AGO) conveyed in a truck with Registration number: EKY 157 XS and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (1) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code and punishable under
The convicts, on the other hand, were given a variety of good options.
Abubakar and Melle were given the option of paying a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) each, whereas Umar, Yahaya, and Mohammed were given the option of paying a fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300,000.00) each.
Truck FKY 206 YF was ordered to be sold by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the proceeds of the sale were to be deposited into the Federal Government’s Account, according to Justice Obile’s ruling.
It also stated that the products on board the truck with the registration number XA 327 JMT would be forfeited to the government and that both trucks would be released to their respective owners after a thorough inspection.
The journey of the convicts to the Correctional Centre began when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) took over the investigation of their cases from the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on various dates.
Several trucking companies were involved in the cases, including an Iveco Tanker with the registration number XA 521 KBG, a Mack Tanker with the registration number River GGU 138 XA, and three other trucks with registration numbers EKY 157 XS, FKY 206YF, and XA 327 JMT. These individuals were all apprehended at various locations while loading petroleum products suspected to contain illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).