By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA– The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has given the Federal Government the nod to take possession of about 500 vessels, tankers, barges, trucks, boats and motorcycles that were seized from alleged oil thieves across the country.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba okayed interim forfeiture of the properties to FG, following two ex-parte applications marked FHC/ABJ/CS/741/2017 and FHC/ABJ/CS/742/2017.
While moving the applications, government lawyer, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN, told the court that the items were seized items from the alleged oil thieves by the Nigerian Navy and the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Petroleum/Illegal Bunkering.
Specifically, Justice Dimgba ordered interim forfeiture “of all the items listed in the schedule attached to this motion, marked as Exhibits OB1 – OB3, including, but not limited to vessels, barges, boats, laden cargo pending the final determination of the originating motion on notice.
“That order of interim forfeiture is hereby granted to the first applicant – FRN – of all the items listed in the schedule attached to this motion, marked as Exhibit BB1, including, but not limited to motor vehicles (trucks, tankers, buses, cars and cycles – tricycles and motorcycles) and the goods/products contained therein, pending the final determination of the originating motion on notice.”
The court further granted an order allowing the applicants to appoint a registered/certified valuer, auctioneer or any other person(s) or agency/body as may deem fit by the applicants to ascertain the value of the affected items before they are disposed of.
Meanwhile, the court has given owners of the affected items and the consignments which were seized nationwide, 14 days to appear before it go show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to FG.