Justice A. T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced three oil thieves; Samuel Jackson, Jonathan Naku and Elaye Tamarauseri to two years imprisonment each for illegal dealing in petroleum products without requisite licence.
They were jailed on Friday, July 15, 2022, after pleading “guilty” to one-count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, upon being arraigned by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The one-count charge reads: “That you Jonathan Naku on or about the 5th day of January, 2022 around offshore Bonny Fairway Bouy, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority dealt in crude oil to wit: about 2,458,350 litres conveyed in MT. Preyor 1 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004 and punishable under Section 1(17) (b) of the same Act.
They pleaded “guilty” when the charge was read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, K. W. Chukwuma-Ene prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants as charged.
Counsel to the defendants, B. C. Okeaka prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stating that, they are first- time offenders, with no previous criminal records.
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years imprisonment. Tamarauseri and Naku were given an option of fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000.00) each. Jackson, on the other hand, was given an option of One Million Naira (N1, 000,000.00), payable into the consolidated revenue account of the federal government.
Jackson, Naku and Tamarauseri started their journey to the Correctional Service when they were all apprehended by operatives of Nigerian Navy, NNS Gongola on January 5, 2022 around offshore Bonny Fairway Bouy, Rivers State for illegally dealing in Petroleum products without any lawful authority.
They were arrested alongside a vessel fully loaded with about 2,458,350 litres of crude oil, conveyed in MT. PREYOR 1. The convicts could not provide an approval letter from the Nigerian Navy authorising them to ply Nigeria waterways or any documentation for the product they found in their possession.