BY IFEANYI OKOLIE
LAGOS— FOURTEEN suspects, arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for illegal bunkering were, Wednesday, arraigned before Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The suspects identified as Abu Ali Jibia, Akume Surprise, Boglo Babatunde, Umar Mohammed, Nafiu Hussain, Ibrahim Yakubu, Calvin Ajike, Alhassan Oseni, Kenneth Osei, Korlee Uebari, Habourpoint Nigeria Limited, Chidodo Access Oil & Gas Limited and Millennium Jetty and Marine Services Limited pleaded not guilty when a five-count charge of illegal oil bunkering were read to them.
One of the charges against the suspects read: “That you Abu Ali Jibia, Akume Surprise, Boglo Babatunde, Umar Mohammed, Nafiu Hussain, Ibrahim Yakubu, Calvin Ajike, Alhassan Oseni, Kenneth Osei, Korlee Uebari, Habourpoint Nigeria Limited, Chidodo Access Oil & Gas Limited and Millennium Jetty and Marine Services Limited on or about the 22nd day of May, 2013 at Liberty Jetty, Marina, Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria conspired to commit a felony to wit: carry out an act for which a licence is required under the Petroleum Act without lawful authority or appropriate licence contrary to section 516 of the Criminal Code Cap 77, Laws of the Federation 1990.”
The prosecuting counsel, A. B. C Ozioko, asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand all the accused persons in prison custody with the exception of the second accused who is the captain of the ship. Ozioko prayed the court to remand him in EFCC custody so that he could lead investigators to the vessel.
Defence counsel, Nelson Ohaji, while opposing the prayer of the EFCC counsel, informed the court that all the defendants had filed applications for bail and pleaded that they be remanded in EFCC custody if their applications were not considered.
Justice Tsoho adjourned the case to June 28, 2013 for hearing on bail applications and ordered that all the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison with the exception of the second accused person who was ordered to be remanded in EFCC custody.