Justices S. D. Pam and A. T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, convicted and sentenced three oil thieves to three months Community Service for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The convicts: Illiyasu Ibrahim, Mallam Shehu Idris and Mohammed Bello were jailed on Monday, October 18, 2021 after pleading “guilty” to one- count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, upon their arraignment by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The lone- count charge read: “That you Illiyasu Ibrahim on or about the 10th day of September, 2021, at Port Harcourt Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court dealt in petroleum product to wit: Automotive Gas Oil which is not of the quality for Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (18) (a)(ii) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) Act, 2007 and punishable under the same Section”
They pleaded “guilty” to the charge preferred against them by the prosecution.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, N. A. Dodo, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Defence counsel: M. M. Suleiman prayed the court to temper justice with mercy “for they are first -time offenders and have no previous criminal records.”
Justice Pam convicted and sentenced Illiyasu Ibrahim to three (3) months Community Service with an option of fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50, 000). In the same vein, Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced Idris and Bello to the same three (3) months Community Service with an option of fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000) each.
Both Judges ordered that the illegally- refined Automotive Gas Oil( AGO) stored in 23 jerry cans be sold by the court in conjunction with EFCC officials and the proceeds paid into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government. Additionally, the court required the convicts to depose to affidavits of good behaviour henceforth.
The convicts were arrested by operatives of the EFCC, acting on some verified intelligence, on September 6, 2021 at Ahoada Local Government Area of Rivers State, at the scene where several bunkered petroleum products were assembled and sold, along the road to trucks and vehicles within the location.