A Federal High court, sitting in Lagos has sentenced five oil marketers to three years imprisonment after they were arrested with two truck load of stolen Petrol from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline, Ibafo area of Ogun state.
The convicts, Ishola Ganiyu, Ishola Omopariola, Kayode Ajose, Aramide Solomon and Aranosiola Muruf were docked on a five count charge on conspiracy to wit tampering of pipeline, obstructing free flow dealing in petroleum product and were arraigned in court sometime in March 2013.
In his ruling, Justice Ibrahim Buba found them guilty of two count charge insisting that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. They were however given an option of fine to the tune of N300, 000.
It could be recalled that on January 6, 2013, the convicts were arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit while they were discharging vandalized petrol at a filling station in Ogun state.
The police was said to have acted based on intelligence report that vandal were operating and moving the product to an unknown destination. They were later traced to Ogun state where the products were been sold to a prospective buyer.
Describing the judgments as free and fair, the officer in-charge of the task force, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin praised the court for expediting the prosecution.
“I must sincerely commend Justice Buba for his efforts in expediting the process. We got judgment within a year. It does not matter the number of years that he was sentenced to, the most important thing is that they have been convicted.
“There are so many others in various courts awaiting trial. I believe that this will serve as a deterrent to others. The department will do its possible best to reduce to its barest minimum the cases of pipeline vandalization by ensuring that suspects who were arrested are made to face the wrath of the law,” Ibadin stated.