Oil Bunkering: EFCC Arraigns Naval Officer, 14 Others

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a senior naval officer, Bola Labinjo and 14 others on a two-count bordering on conspiracy and unlawful dealing on petroleum products.

The antigraft agency in a statement by its Head, Media, and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said the arraignment of the suspects was before Justice M. Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday.

Arraigned alongside the naval officer were; Jonathan Abaka, Charles Ikemefuna Agaba, Benjamin Gold Gageche, Hamza Yakubu, Emmanuel Oputa, Peter Dung Pulle, Innocent Akpan, Kehinde Labinjo, Pius Mathew Paul, Onoja Musa Emmanuel, and Adeleke Hamed.

Others were a vessel and two companies namely: M.T. Adeline Jumbo, Global Shipping Activities Bureau Limited and Labland and Sea Services Limited.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them.

READ ALSO: Navy Arrests Five Suspected Bandits, Recover 267 Stolen Cows In Kaduna

Six of the defendants; Bola Labinjo, Jonathan Abuka, Ikemefuna Charles Agaba, Benjamin Gold, Hamzat Yakubu, and a vessel, M.T. Adeline Jumbo were first arraigned before a vacation judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor on the same charge.

They however pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

The prosecution counsel, Oluwakemi Makinde asked the court for a trial date and an order to remand the defendants in prison custody pending the determination of the case.

Meanwhile, Jerry Omorege, counsel to Bola Labinjo and M.T. Adeline Jumbo, urged the court to allow his client continue to enjoy the bail granted by Justice Obiozor.

Counsel to other four defendants who were initially arraigned before Justice Obiozor also prayed the court to allow their clients to continue enjoying the bail conditions granted by Justice Obiozor.

Prosecution counsel, Makinde did not oppose the application, noting that “bail is at the discretion of the court.”

The court was informed by the defence counsel that the prosecution failed to produce a major co-defendant in the matter, Captain Dada Olaniyi Labinjo (a retired Naval Officer) who happens to be the husband of the second defendant, Bola Labinjo.

They alleged that Captain Labinjo was not at large, contrary to claims by the EFCC.

However, the prosecution counsel, Oluwakemi Makinde insisted that, to the best of her knowledge, “Mr. Dada Olaniyi is at large.”

Justice Hassan, after listening to all parties, ruled that the defendants earlier granted bail by Justice Obiozor shall continue to enjoy the bail terms and conditions given by Justice Obiozor.

He admitted other defendants to bail, except the first defendant, M.T. Adeline Jumbo, on same terms and conditions as granted to other defendants by Justice Obiozor.

Justice Hassan adjourned the case to December 2, 2019 for commencement of trial and ruling on bail application of the first defendant, M.T. Adeline Jumbo.

NSCDC Storms Cross River Creek, Arrests Seven Suspected Oil Thieves

The suspected oil thieves were arrested with more than 200 drums of diesel.

 

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has apprehended seven suspected members of an oil bunkering gang with over 200 drums of diesel valued at over N10 million at a creek in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The creek, located at the Jebbs area of Calabar South, is said to be a hideout and a major route for oil thieves and a hub for bunkering activities within states in the Niger Delta.

State Commandant, NSCDC, Stephen Lar, speaking shortly after parading the suspects and the products at the Jebbs creek, warned that the command was focused on ridding the creeks in the state of illegal activities.

The NSCDC boss decried oil bunkering as sabotage to the nation’s economy, noting that the oil thieves are using the creeks as a route to perpetuate the evil act.

Lar warned criminals using other creeks within the state for such nefarious activities to desist from doing so or be prepared to meet their Waterloo in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the products discovered with the suspects have been moved to the Civil defence office for testing while the suspects according to the command will be arraigned.

See photos below:

Troops Raid Oil Bunkering Sites In Rivers

Barely two months after its formal operationalization, the Nigerian Army’s 6 Division in Port Harcourt has stepped up operations to deter various criminal acts being perpetrated within its Area of Responsibility.

These operations are aimed at tackling oil bunkering, kidnapping, robbery, cultism, piracy and other crimes being committed in the Niger Delta.

On Monday and Tuesday, troops raided two oil bunkering sites as part of the operations, which the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said in a statement today has recorded huge successes so far.

See photos of the raid and stop and search operations below:

 

 

Court Sentences Two Oil Bunkerers Five Years In Prison

NBA Decries Endangered Justice Delivery In Bayelsa

A Federal High Court sitting Calabar, the Cross River State capital has found two men guilty of oil bunkering and jailed them.

Justice I.E Ekwo sentenced Tony Ochonogo and Efe Alex to five years’ imprisonment each without an option of fine on Monday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had tried both men on four counts bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products without a licence.

Ochonogo was found guilty on counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 while Alex was convicted on counts 1 and 2. The sentence is to run concurrently.

Justice Ekwo also ordered that a truck used by the convicts to convey the illegally refined automotive gas oil and the products conveyed should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Ochonogo and Alex were arrested on March 20, 213 by officials of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

In the course of their arrest, a tanker truck loaded with 33, 000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil was impounded after it was discovered that a waybill they presented with the claim that it was issued to them from the Warri Refinery was fake.

NSCDC Parades Eight Suspected Oil Thieves In Bayelsa

NSCDC Parades Eight Suspected Oil Thieves In BayelsaThe Bayelsa state command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), has paraded eight suspected oil thieves who were intercepted by officers of the command.

While on patrol, they uncovered the den of oil vandals in the heart of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, in a building which was said to be owned by a former member of the federal House of Representatives.

As the officers searched the compound, they discovered Jerry cans, industrial cellophane bags, cellophane sealing machines; as well as a tricycle for transporting the product.

The commandant explained that occupants of the building all fled on the arrival of the officers of the NSCDC, except for one man who was caught before he could escape.

Militancy had resurged in the Niger Delta in 2015, with series of attacks on pipelines and oil installations, forcing some oil companies to declare force majeure.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks that have affected Nigeria’s oil output and power supply, which largely depends on gas from that region.

However, as the fight against pipeline vandalism and oil theft intensifies, there is the urgent need for more reorientation on the ills of engaging in this destructive trade.

Operation ‘Eagle Eye’: Navy Arrests Suspected Oil Thieves

Operation 'Eagle Eye': Navy Arrests Suspected Oil Thieves The Nigerian Navy has arrested five suspected oil thieves during their annual sea exercise code named exercise ‘Eagle Eye’.

The Navy also destroyed four illegal refineries set up at Ijawkiri in Rivers state during the operation.

In addition, the naval team destroyed five boats laden with products suspected to be crude oil, while another two barges suspected to contain crude oil, were handed over to the Economic And Finical Crimes Commission (EFCC), along-side the owners for prosecution.

The primary duty of the Nigerian Navy is to safeguard the nation’s waterways and that task has become more imperative in the face of attacks on oil facilities and oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.

At the Onne federal terminal, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, flagged off the ‘eagle eye’ operation, aimed at enhancing maritime security in Nigerian territorial waters.

According to him, eight naval patrol ships participated in the exercise as they began their inspection from Onne to bonny into the deep waters.

Tactical commander, operation eagle eye, Rear Admiral Muhammed Garba, explained that aside from patrolling critical oil infrastructure, the team demonstrated their readiness to tackle any threat by showing their prowess in various aspects of the tactical operation.

It was after the exercise that the Commander, Nigerian Navy ship pathfinder, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, handed over two suspected oil thieves and two barges of suspected crude to the EFCC.

This is not the first of initiatives carried out to bring an end to sea crime in the Niger-Delta and Gulf of Guinea regions.

In November, ‘Exercise Sharkbite’, was also implemented to also tighten security around choke points in the maritime environment.

However, as the exercise ‘eagle eye‘ draws to a close it is expected that the lessons learnt would not only be applied by the naval personal, but would also yield positive results in the protection of Nigerian water ways both within the country and in deep sea areas.

Suspected Oil Thieves Arrested With Over 65,000 Litres Of Crude Oil

crude oil thieftNine suspects allegedly involved in illegal oil bunkering and illegal transportation of crude oil have been arrested by the Nigerian Army in Imo State.

The arrest was made by the 34 Artillery Brigade Command in Owerri, the capital of Imo State

A spokesman for the Command, Captain Ajemasu Jingina, told reporters that the arrest was made through the command’s operation PULO Shield saddled with the responsibility of curbing illegal oil bunkering, illegal oil theft, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping of oil workers.

According to him, the command was able to intercept four different trucks along Owerri Port Harcourt expressway conveying products containing over 33,000 litres of AGO and crude oil suspected to be gotten from illegal oil bunkering.

Captain Jingina said most of the suspects were arrested along Owerri-Port Harcourt expressway and oil producing Oguta Local Government Area of the state.

He said a truck with registration number ABB 239 XA carting 10,800 litres of substance suspected to be AGO was loaded into a well-constructed metal and concealed with piles of two by four inches woods in order to bit the check of security operatives on the highway.

The Captain also disclosed that the officers of the Command also intercepted a Dangote Sino truck in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State loaded with 22,000 litres of substances suspected to be crude oil.

Some of the suspects maintained that the products were bought legally but concealed in the truck in order not to pay the normal fees and charges on the highway.

Apart from the suspected oil thieves, the Command also paraded suspected kidnappers and some with illegal firearms.

The command has promised to take up these cases and hand them over to the appropriate authorities for further prosecution.

It further called for more support from the public in providing necessary and timely information that would aid in combating crime and other criminal related activities in the state.

Navy Arrests Suspected Crude Oil Thieves In Delta State

Crude-oil-theftThe Nigerian Navy has arrested 11 crew members of a vessel, MT Camille, laden with about 4,000 metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil at Forcados in Delta State.

Briefing reporters on Friday, the Flag Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, reiterated that the Navy had zero tolerance for illegal oil bunkering.

According to him the arrest was made in continuation of the resolve to curtail crude oil theft in the maritime environment in the region where most of the nation’s crude is mined.

He said that preliminary investigations were ongoing and that the Nigerian navy had employed new technologies to curb activities of oil pipeline vandals.

Crude oil theft further depletes Nigeria’s revenue from crude oil in the face of dropped crude oil price.

Nigeria depends largely on crude oil for its revenue, having drifted away from agriculture which was the nation’s economic mainstay before the discovery of crude oil.

The government is, however, making efforts to diversify the economy, with focus returning to agriculture and untapped huge solid minerals.

Seven Oil Thieves Bag 84 Years Jail Term

Oil thievesJustice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday convicted and sentenced seven men to a prison term of 84 years for dealing in 1,459 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petroleum product without obtaining lawful authority.

The convicts, who will each serve a jail term of 12 years, commencing from Friday, October 30 2015, are Adedamola Ogungbayi, Olaniran Olabode, Suraju Gasali and Moses Emmanuel.

Others are Wilson Bonsi, Okaraodi Uche and Onyeogo Happy.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the vessel, MT Good Success, used by the convicts in perpetrating the crime, as well as the recovered petroleum product to the Federal Government.

In addition, Abang further ordered the forfeiture of the sums of N66.6m and $975,000 belonging to the convicts’ company, Hepa Global Energy Limited, domiciled with the First City Monument Bank.

He ordered the filing of an affidavit of compliance with the order within 21 days of the judgment.

The seven convicts, their vessel and company had on August 28, 2014 been re-arraigned on five counts before Abang, alongside one Padoun Jacob, who was on Friday discharged and acquitted by the court.

The judge, in setting Jacob free on all the five counts, described him as a desperate job seeker, who became a victim of circumstances.

He noted that the stolen product had been loaded before Jacob was employed by Hepa Global Energy Limited on February 7, 2014.

“The guilty should not escape punishment but the innocent should not be punished,” the judge held.

He, however, described the other convicts as enemies of the corporate existence of Nigeria, who had contributed to the economic woes of the country.

“The convicts have no sympathy for the corporate existence of this country. The seed of wrongdoing may be sown in secret but the harvest cannot be concealed. Today is the day of reckoning.

“You call it oil bunkering or pipeline vandalism, this menace has reached an alarming proportion in this country; enough is enough.

“The convicts are godless and lawless, without any particle of sympathy for this country. They are part of the people that have contributed to the economic woes of this country.

“The convicts planted thorns, they cannot expect to gather flowers; they sowed the wind, and they must gather whirlwind,” the judge held.

Although he noted that each of counts one to four attracted life sentence, he, however, sentenced each of the seven convicts to 10 years on each of the counts, to run concurrently from the judgment day.

He also sentenced each of them to two years on the fifth count.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the judge that the convicts violated sections 19(c) and 17 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

To prove his case, Oyedepo called a total of 11 witnesses, leading to the conviction and imprisonment of the seven convicts.

Vandals Kill Seven DSS Operatives In Ikorodu

DSSSecurity sources say that seven operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS have been killed in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, Nigeria’s south-west region.

A top security source who would not want to be named says that the operatives were killed in the Ishawo road area of Ikorodu on Wednesday during an encounter with suspected pipeline vandals at about 7pm .

The incident is the second of such attacks within two week by vandals on security operatives in the area.

On August 30, four policemen from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Owutu Police Division were attacked. Three of the policemen died while the last one was injured.

A motorcycle rider, Ganiyu Bamidele, said, “The vandals usually emerged from Igbo Olomu road or Ishawo road; and when they do, they are always many; and their guns are sophisticated.”

Oil Bunkering: Court Assumes Jurisdiction Over Foreigners’ Case

court on oil thievesA Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has assumed jurisdiction over the case of 14 foreigners alleged to have been involved in illegal oil bunkering and have been arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The accused had on Wednesday, through their counsel, Babajide Koku (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the charges against them for lack of jurisdiction to hear the charges.

The foreigners made up of eight Filipinos, three Russians and three Ukrainians, also claimed that they were not involved in any illegal activity.

Following Thursday’s ruling, the trial commenced immediately with the court taking the testimony of the Arresting Officer, a Captain of the Nigerian Navy, Chidozie Okehie.

The court thereafter adjourned the case to June 23 for cross examination of the Captain.

Meanwhile, another set of nine foreigners and their vessel have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the same court on a 4-count of illegally dealing in petroleum products.

The offence was said to have been committed on March 27.

Fuel Scarcity: Petroleum Minister Links Hardship To Product Diversion

Petroleum MinisterThe petroleum ministry has said it is set to crack down on all major marketers involved in diversion of petroleum products, causing artificial scarcity across the country.

Minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke said in Lagos on Sunday that some major marketers involved in fuel diversion have been identified and will soon be sanctioned.

“The number of trucks coming into Lagos, the volumes coming in, where they’re supposed to be getting to in terms of the mapping and an approximate idea of what is being diverted (is being investigated), because clearly there is diversion.

“In terms of our critical reserves, we have more than 2 week’s sufficiency on hand right now and we have been pushing the sufficiency out. The issue is where is some of the fuel being diverted to?

“A lot of hard work would need to be done in the next 24 hours or so; there would really be sanctions this time. In fact I am ready to start publishing the names where we find that people have been diverting products, because there’s no reason for that at this time”, she said.

In what appears to be a demonstration of government’s seriousness at enforcing effective distribution of petrol across the country, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs  Diezani Allison-Madueke, had on Saturday paid an unscheduled visit to some fuel stations in Lagos.

While on the tour, the minister insisted that the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the pump price and warned that a list of those suspected to have hoarded the product is already being compiled.