Justice A. T Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced Babangida Dantata, Yusuf Abdullahi, Hassan Mohammed and Dickson Peter to various jail terms for illegally dealing in petroleum products.
The defendants were arraigned on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on a one-count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
One of the count charge read: “That you Babangida Dantata, Yusuf Abdullahi and Hassan Mohammed sometimes in April, 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did distribute petroleum products (Automotive Gas Oil) with Freightliner Tanker with registration number GME 371 XA, Mack Tanker with registration number EKY 844 XN and DAF Tanker with registration number RSH 347 ZA without a licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4(1) of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded guilty when the charges were read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels, S. Chime and K.W. Chukwuma-Eneh prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Counsel to the defendants, M. M. Suleiman did not oppose the prayer by the prosecution.
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced Dantata, Abdullahi and Mohammed to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) each while Peter was convicted and sentenced to a fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000).
Troubles started for all the convicts when the EFCC received a petition from the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, accusing them of illegally dealing in petroleum products without any license.
Investigation showed that the convicts were arrested alongside a Freightliner Tanker with registration number GME 371 XA, Mack Tanker with registration number EKY 844 XN, DAF Tanker with registration number RSH 347 ZA and a bus with registration number FN 372 ABC by the men of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army at various locations in Port Harcourt while distributing/storing illegally refined AGO, while carrying out anti-bunkering operations and were later handed over to EFCC, Port Harcourt for investigation and prosecution.