Six others were arrested by the Navy.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned 12 suspected oil thieves at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State while it received six more suspects from the Nigerian Navy.
This comes a day after a Nigerian lawmaker accused the presidency of incompetence over the handling of oil theft in the country.
The spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Zakary Mohammed, said the government had no excuse for not addressing the theft despite the availability of new technologies.
“For us at the House, we fail to agree that oil theft cannot be surmounted. We know that we have security operatives. Government has been empowered on that. There are budgetary provisions made for that,” Mr. Mohammed had said
In a statement released by the EFCC’s Media Publicity team on the commission’s website, the oil thieves- Nuhu Makeri, David Tieno, Olusegun Odejayi, Godpower Orido, Chika Odiri, Sunkanmi Ojerinde, Emeka Udeogwu, Peter Ogundimbola, Prosper Eyetan, Gideon Ogili and Benaiah Okwubei- were arraigned before Justice Lambo Akanbi on a 2-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing of petroleum product.
The case was adjourned to October 8 for the commencement of trial
The commission said the accused persons, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, were arrested in May by the Nigerian Navy aboard a ship, MV Sea Giant, owned by a company, MOEN Marine Ltd, with over 10, 0000 litres of illegally refined diesel oil.
The commission also stated that the captain of the vessel confessed that it came from Lagos to load diesel from Barge ARTI, Agbara offshore.
The commission also stated that on Wednesday, 0ctober 2, it received six suspected oil thieves and a vessel, MV SOA from the Nigerian Navy, Naval Base, Warri, Delta State, for further investigation and possible prosecution.
According to Francis Okoloagu of the Nigerian Navy, representing the Commander, the NNS COBRA while on patrol on July 28 had arrested the suspects on board MT ALLI-RIZA BEY and MV SOA vessels, transferring diesel products to smaller boats offshore Escravos.
Mr. Okoloagu said that the captain of the ship, MV SOA, had an application by NNS BEECROFT. He said the naval clearance by NNS BEECROFT to lift diesel from Calabar to Lagos was valid till August 2013, but MV SOA was found at Escravos, which contravened the Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) and approval granted.
The suspects aboard MV SOA were John Edema, Shina Orisanwo, Bushar Abiodun and Holly Ayenuwa while those arrested aboard MT ALI-RIZA BEY were Victor Olaboyin and Abdulazeez Salahu.
The commission said the suspects would be charged to court as soon investigation was completed.
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