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Court slams oil thieves with two years jail term for illegal bunkering

ON Tuesday, Justice A. T Mohammed of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, convicted and sentenced Abdullahi Yahaya, Suleiman Hassan and Salisu Abubakar to two years imprisonment each on a one-count charge bordering on illegal oil bunkering.

Monday Major, who was also charged alongside the convicts was handed a fine of N500,000 for his involvement with illegal dealing in petroleum products.

Acting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, spokesman, Tony Orilade, who revealed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said the convicts were intercepted by Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt in June 2019 at Aluu General Area, Port Harcourt distributing Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) using a DAF Tanker with registration number FST 12XB without an appropriate license.

While Major was apprehended distributing diesel with a Mack Tanker with registration number XP 711 PHC without a requisite license.

The EFCC, Port Harcourt zonal office had arraigned the convicts on a one-count separate charge, bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, violating 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

A one-month court process led by the EFCC after the convicts were handed over by the Nigerian Army, prompted their prosecution and subsequent conviction.

The one-count charge reads, “That you Abdullahi Yahaya, Suleiman Hassan and Salisu Abubakar, sometime in June, 2019, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did distribute petroleum product (Automotive Gas Oil) with DAF Tanker with registration number FST 12 XB, without licence 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.”

For Monday, his charge reads, “That you Monday Major, on or about June 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did distribute petroleum product (Automotive Gas Oil) with Mark Tanker XP 711 PHC, without licence 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”.

The defendants pleaded guilty when the charges were read to them.

The judge convicted and sentenced Yahaya, Hassan and Abubakar to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) each. He also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with be forfeited to the federal government.

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