From Omale Adama Lokoja
Two persons, whose names were given as Michael Umoru and Obi Kelechi were yesterday arraigned in a Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court for allegedly vandalizing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and PPMC pipelines and siphoning petroleum products.
The duo were charged with criminal conspiracy contrary to section 97(1) of the Penal Code and Oil Pipeline Tampering/Dealing in Petroleum Products without Lawful Authority/License contrary to section 1 (7) (a) and (b) of the
miscellaneous offence Act, CAMP 17, LFN 2004.
The prosecuting counsel, Silas Bode, Esq told the court that the accused committed the alleged offences on July 25, between 2am and 3am at Gaba village in Kogi local government area, while acting in concert with other persons, said to be at large.
Bode further told the court that the accused persons siphoned about 33,000 litres of petroleum products into a waiting Mark truck, with registration number: KOGI LKJ 223 XA but were rounded up by operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
In their plea, the accused pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.
Counsel to both accused, M. O. Ogedengbe Esq. urged the court to grant them bail, pleading their presumption of innocence in line with sections 36(5) of the Constitution and 341(1)(2)(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The prosecuting counsel did not object to the bail application, but submitted that investigation into the matter was still on; more so, that some of the suspects were still at large and therefore, applied for another date for hearing.
In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Levi Animoku, granted the accused bail in the
sum of N500, 000 with a surety each, in like sum.
Animoku added that the surety must be a civil servant of not below Grade level 12 as he adjourned to September 18, for hearing.