Justice M.L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced Ibrahim Abbah and Isah Magaji to six months imprisonment for conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
In the same court, another judge, Justice I. M Sani convicted and sentenced Yeri Ebikake to a fine of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) only for dealing in petroleum products without being licensed.
Abba and Magaji were arraigned on Monday, June 24, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office on one-count 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.
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The count charge read: “That you Ibrahim Abah and Isah Magaji on or about the 14th of January, 2019 at East West Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did distribute petroleum products without license to Wit: about 20,000 litres conveyed in a Truck with Registration Number BAM 64 XA 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”.
They pleaded ‘”guilty” to the charge when read to them.
In view of their plea of ‘guilty’, Prosecuting Counsel, M. T. Iko urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Justice Abubakar, convicted and sentenced the defendants to six (6) Months imprisonment with an option of fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) and also ordered that the 20,000 litres of the crude oil conveyed in the Truck with Registration Number BAM 64 XA be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Abbah and Isah’s journeys to prison began when men of the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, intercepted them in a truck loaded with illegal petroleum products. The truck with registration number BAM 64 XA, was found to be loaded with 20,000 litres of products confirmed to be crude oil.
The count charge against Ebikake reads: “That you YERI EBIKAKE, on or about the 2nd day of November, 2017 at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court without appropriate license did convey petroleum products to wit, 2,500 litres of Automated Gas Oil (AGO) loaded in 100 bags conveyed in a Truck with Reg. No. PBT 409 XA and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 (1) of Petroleum Act CAP P10 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Reverse Edition) Act 2007 and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.
He pleaded ‘guilty’ to the one- count charge.
Both the prosecution counsel, Adaugo Chukwueggu and the defense counsel, O.I. Briggs did not object to the convict’s plea of “guilty”.
In view of his plea, Chukwueggu applied that the defendant be convicted accordingly. However, Briggs sued for a light sentence.
Justice Sani convicted and sentenced the defendant to One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) fine and ordered that the 2,500 Liters of AGO should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Ebikake journey’s to prison began when he was arrested alongside a truck with registration number PBT 409 XA, loaded with 2,500 litres of products confirmed to be illegally refined AGO by the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt. He was thereafter handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.