The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned eight suspected oil bunkerers before Justice H.I. Oshoma of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a 2-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and dealing in petroleum products without a licence.


The suspects: Christian Nwankoafor (Captain); Solomon Avwenaghagha;  Egwiniwin Felix;  Anthony Onyenedum; Bassey Akpan; Ezra Njoku, Moses Jonah and Imeh Michael were arraigned alongside their vessel: MT Rockfish. They were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Pathfinder, around Jonny River, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on March 24 and 20 April, 2017 for suspected illegal bunkering activities and handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
 
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against them.

Count one read: "That you Christian Nwankoafor (Captain), Solomon Avwenaghagha, Egwiniwin Felix, Anthony Onyenedum, Bassey Akpan, Ezra Njoku, Moses Jonah, Imeh Michael and MT Rockfish and others at large  on or about the 24th day of March, 2017 in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: distribute, deal in or with petroleum product without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP 17 of the revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act"
 
Count two read:  "That you Christian Nwankoafor (Captain), Solomon Avwenaghagha, Egwiniwin Felix, Anthony Onyenedum, Bassey Akpan, Ezra Njoku, Moses Jonah, Imeh Michael and others at large on or about the 24th day of March, 2017 in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this honourable court without appropriate authority or licence distribute, deal in or with petroleum product to wit yet to be ascertained quantity of suspected Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) conveyed in a vessel christened MT ROCKFISH and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(17)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP 17 of the revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act."

In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, M. Orji applied for a trial date. The defence counsel, M.S. Agwu told the court that he had filed a consolidated bail application for all the defendants.  Justice Oshoma adjourned the matter to August 2, 2017 for hearing of bail applications and ordered the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.   

Media & Publicity
1 August, 2017