Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Three men, Yusuf Waheed, Rasheed Ajibade and Omoh Okpeku, were remanded by a Lagos Federal High Court on Monday for allegedly vandalising a petroleum pipeline.
Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the remand of the three men in a Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) facility after their pleas were taken on the charges of conspiracy, pipeline vandalism and unlawful dealing in petroleum products, leveled against the by the police.
Arraigning the three defendants, prosecutor Mr Kingsley Ngere told the court that the defendants and others now at large, had on December 4, at Lagos’ Orile-Iganmu Bridge, conspired amongst themselves and tampered with a Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) pipeline.
The prosecutor further told the court that the defendants had siphoned petroleum product from the vandalised pipeline, housed in 14 bags and loaded in a white LT4 Volkswagen bus with registration number AKM 220 ZT
They were also alleged to have engaged in the act of distributing, selling and offering for sale the siphoned petroleum product illegally and without appropriate licence.
The offences, according to the prosecutor contravened Sections 3(6) and are punishable under Section 1(7)(a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act, Cap M17, vol. 8 of the Revised Edition of Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ngere told the court that with the defendants’ plea, the court should set a date for trial, while also asking the court to remand the defendants in the custody of NCS pending the determination of the charges.
Responding, counsel to the defendants, McAnthony Aikharialea, did not oppose the prosecutor’s request for trial date and remand of his clients.
He told the court that he has just been briefed and needed time to file their bail applications.
Following the request of the prosecutor, which was not opposed by the defendants’ counsel, Justice Faji ordered that all the defendants be remanded in the custody of the NCS, and adjourned the matter till February 12 and 13, 2020, for the commencement of defendants’ trial.
Count one of the charges against the defendants read: “That you Yusuf Waheed ‘M’, Rasheed Ajibade ‘M’, Omoh Okpeku ‘M’ and others now at large on or about the 4th December, 2019 at Orile Iganmu bridge, Lagos within Lagos Judicial Division did aid, counsel, procure or conspire amongst yourselves to tamper with the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) pipe or pipeline and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(7)(a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act, Cap M17, vol. 8 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2004.”