By Michael Ojo
A Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State o. Thursday May 28, 2020 jailed an oil bunkerer, Praise Wokoma Barrah for two years for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office arraigned the defendant before Justice I.M Sani over one-count charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, 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 one-count charge read: “That you Praise Wokoma Barrah, sometime in August, 2019 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did distribute petroleum products (Automotive Gas Oil) conveyed in a Ford Bus with registration number FZE 778 RV 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”.
Barrah pleaded guilty to the charge.
While reviewing the facts, prosecution counsel, M.T. Iko tendered some documents and called a witness who told the court that the convict was arrested by 6 Division, Nigerian Army at Okwujiagu Area of Port Harcourt, alongside a Ford Bus with registration Number FZE 778 RV, while conveying drums containing products suspected to be illegally -refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO).
The prosecution witness further disclosed that the convict, Barrah, did not have a licence from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to lift or deal in petroleum products. In view of the facts, Iko urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Justice Sani thereafter convicted and sentenced Barrah to two years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000) fine.