Stories by Ifeanyi Okolie
A 32-year-old man, Ado Yusuf, a farmer in Arawa village, in Kirfi Local Government area of Bauchi State, would have to spend the rest 36 months of his life behind bars, as he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Bauchi state, for vandalizing and scooping fuel from an oil pipeline .
His journey to prison began few months ago when he was arrested by men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Alkaleri Division, and transferred to the EFCC Gombe zonal office on the 16th of September 2010 for investigation.
Upon investigation, it was established that Ado who worked in concert with two other persons, now at large, usually scooped petroleum products from NNPC pipeline and sell to road side dealers.
He was arraigned before the Federal High Court sitting in Bauchi, presided over by Justice M.T. Salihu on the 25th of November 2010. Ado was charged for attempting to tamper with an NNPC oil pipeline, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 1 (19) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 andpunishable under Section 1(7) of same Act.
At the arraignment, the trial judge read out the one -count charge to the accused (which was interpreted in Hausa language), to which he agreed he understood and pleaded guilty as charged.
Counsel to EFCC, Abubakar Aliyu thereafter tendered the exhibits recovered from the accused _ a hoe, shovel, axe_ saw, hand drilling machine and 16 empty jerry cans of 25 litres each. Counsel to the plaintiff, M.I. Tiyin obliged the exhibits tendered.
In view of the guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Aliyu Abubakar, moved that the accused be convicted accordingly. Tiyin pleaded for leniency on behalf of his client, claiming that the accused is a first time offender, bread winner of his family and did not waste the time of the court. He further pleaded that subject to the discretion of the court, the conviction be mitigated with an option of fine. The judge adjourned ruling for 29th November 2010.
When the matter came up for ruling, the judge sentenced Ado to three years imprisonment without an option of fine, but to run from the date he was first arrested.