The Lagos Zonal office of EFCC on Monday, August 6, 2018, secured the conviction and sentencing of 10 persons and a vessel, MV Peace, for their involvement in an illegal oil deal before Justice Muhammad B. Idris of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The convicts are: James Abatan, Wasiu Abdul Owonikoko, Patrick Ameh, Johnson Ademola, Felix Otto, Chigozie Oguike, Olu Salisu, Jomo Gadagbe, Kunle Oba Saheed Rasheed Adio and a vessel, MV Peace.
They were intercepted about five nautical miles off the Lagos Fairway Buoy by the Nigerian Navy Ship Ikot-Abasi on April 4, 2015 on suspicion of illegal dealing in petroleum products and handed over to the EFCC for prosecution. The convicts were subsequently arraigned on July 23, 2015 on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products
One of the counts reads: “ That you, MV Peace, James Abatan, Wasiu Abdul Owonikoko, Patrick Amen, Johnson Ademola, Felix Otto, Chigozie Oguike, Olu Salisu, Jomo Gadagbe, Kunle Oba Saheed and Rasheed Adio, on or about the 4th day of April, 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section (1) (17) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby setting the stage for their trial. The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in the course of the trial, presented witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris held that the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt the offence of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products levelled against the convicts.