1st July, 2021
By Taiwo Okanlawon
Five oil thieves have been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms by Justice E.A. Obile of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The convicts were dragged to court by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The convicts: Salisu Abubakar; Aliyu Mohammed Umar; Mohammed Sambo Yahaya, Musa Mohammed and Abbas Melle were convicted and sentenced after pleading “guilty” to charges of dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate license.
While Abubakar, Umar, Yahaya and Mohammed were sentenced to three years imprisonment each, Melle was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Also, Abubakar, Umar and Yahaya were jailed based on 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 convicted based on Section 1 (18) (a) (i) of Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 of the Revised Edition, (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007.
Justice Obile jailed Abubakar, Mohammed and Melle on Monday, June 28, 2021 while Umar and Yahaya were jailed on Thursday, June 24, 2021
The one-count separate charge preferred against one of the convicts read:
“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 without appropriate license dealt in petroleum product 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 (17) (a) of the of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria), 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (17) of the same Act.”
The convicts however got various options of fine.
Abubakar and Melle got an option of fine of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) each while Umar, Yahaya and Mohammed had an option of fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300,000.00) each.
Justice Obile ordered that the products on board the Truck FKY 206 YF should be sold by the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and money realised be paid into the Federal Government’s Account.
He also said that the products on board the Truck with registration number XA 327 JMT be forfeited to the government and both trucks released to their owners.
The convicts’ journey to the Correctional Centre began, when the EFCC, on different dates, took over the investigation of their cases from the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The cases involved five different trucks: an Iveco Tanker with registration number XA 521 KBG; Mack Tanker with registration number River GGU 138 XA; three other trucks with registration numbers EKY 157 XS, FKY 206 YF and XA 327 JMT. They were all arrested at different locations while loading petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).