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Court convicts nine oil thieves in Port Harcourt

Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, convicted and sentenced Ndubisi Ebezim; Eze Igwe Charlse; Kingsley Nwosu; Chukwuman Odum; Sunday Josiah; Mohammed Yahaya; Najib Abubaka, Abubaka Idi and Babangida Jiddah to two years imprisonment with an option of fine to the tune of N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) each for illegal dealing in petroleum products.

The convicts were arraigned on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on 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.

The one -count 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.

Justice Mohammed thereafter convicted and sentenced Ebezim; Charlse; Nwosu; Odum; Josiah; Yahaya; Abubaka, Idi and Jiddah to two(2) years imprisonment with an option of fine to the tune of One Hundred Thousand Naira only (100,000.00) each. The Judge also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The convicts’ journey to prison started when they were intercepted by Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt sometimes in 2017, 2018 and 2019 at different locations in Port Harcourt loading and distributing AGO using different trucks with registration numbers XR 862 ABJ, KJA 699 XR, GBB 790 XW, XZ 848 AGL, BRR 801 BZ, SML 567 AX, XW 17 FST, YLA 533 XM and BER 844 XR without appropriate licenses.

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.