Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced nine people.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reveal this in a statement on Thursday.
According to it, those convicted were arraigned on Wednesday before the judge who sentenced them to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N100, 000 each for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
Those convicted are Ndubisi Ebezim, Eze Igwe Charlse, Kingsley Nwosu, Chukwuman Odum, Sunday Josiah, Mohammed Yahaya, Najib Abubaka, Abubaka Idi, and Babagida Jiddah.
They were arraigned on a one-count separate 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) the same Act.
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The charge read: “That you Babagida Jiddah, being the driver on board a truck with registration number BER 844 XR, on or about the 4th May, 2019 at Igbo Etete in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court deal in petroleum product to wit loading and transporting illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), without appropriate licence or authority 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) the same Act”.
They all pleaded “guilty” when the charges were read to them.
“In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels: S. Chime; F.O. Amama; A. Osu and A.N Dodo, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
“Defence counsels, O.N.Ofordile; C.O. Okpute, W.A. Ugwu, did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution,” the statement said.
Justice Mohammed, thereafter, convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years imprisonment with an option of fine.
He also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The convicts’ journey to prison started when they were intercepted by Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt in 2017, 2018 and 2019 at different locations in the Rivers State capital.
They were said to be loading and distributing AGO using different trucks without appropriate licenses.