The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, arraigned four suspected illegal oil dealers and a vessel on charges bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
They were arrested alongside a vessel (MT IBIM) by the Nigerian Navy and subsequently handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
One of the counts read: “MT IBIM, John Omokri, Jephta Titus, Henry Egumudon and Ayakpo Abonne on the 27th December, 2019 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit; dealing in 810. 573 metric tonnes of Petroleum product without an appropriate license and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act”.
However, all four of them- John Omokri, Jephta Titus, Henry Egumudon and Ayakpo Abonne pleaded not guilty to the 3-count charges.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Oluwakemi Yemi Makinde, prayed the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendants be remanded in Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS.
However, counsel for the first and second defendants, E.O Ajah and 3rd, 4th and 5th defence counsels I.J Anabaraonye both prayed the court to grant them a short date for bail application.
Consequently, Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi adjourned the matter to July 10, 2020, for hearing on the bail application.
He then ordered the defendants to be remanded in National Correctional Service.