Ifeanyi Ubah committed economic sabotage, NNPC says

Ifeanyi Ubah
Ifeanyi Ubah

The Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Ifeanyi Ubah, is in the custody of the State Security Service because he committed economic sabotage by diverting petroleum products stored in his tank farm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has said.

Kabiru Turaki, counsel to the NNPC, told a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday that security agencies have inherent power under the constitution to investigate economic crimes, including diversion of petroleum products.

The secret police arrested Mr. Ubah on May 6, and he has been in detention ever since.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Capital Oil diverted tens of millions of petrol stored in its tank farm by the NNPC, a development that led to the sack of the former head of NNPC Retail.

On May 9, a federal judge in Lagos ordered the SSS to produce Mr. Ubah in court on the next adjourned date, on May 12, and show cause why hebshould not be released unconditionally.

However, on the adjourned date, the court was informed that the SSS had filed an order before another federal court, in Abuja, seeking the detention of Mr. Ubah for another 14 days pending the completion of their investigation.

On Thursday, Peter Okerinmodu, counsel to the SSS, told the court in Lagos that the alleged infringement committed by Mr. Ubah took place in Abuja and, as a result, the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Mr. Okerinmodu, while adopting the SSS’s counter affidavit and preliminary objection, said Mr. Ubah’s motion is aimed at fraustrating the agency’s ongoing investigation on the allegation made against him by the NNPC.

He urged the court to dismiss the motion.

Furthermore, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) through its lawyer, A. M. Ocholi, argued that going through the affidavit filed by the applicant, there was nowhere the commission is alleged of any breach of the applicant rights.‎

He equally urged the court to dismiss the suit.

Justice Mohammed Idris fixed May 25 to rule on whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Earlier, Ifeoma Esom, counsel to Mr. Ubah, informed the court how she received processes filed by the 7th and 8th respondents on their notice of preliminary objection on Wednesday.

“They were served the processes as far back as 28th April and this is meant to distort proceedings before this court as well as prolong the detention of the first applicant. This suit was brought under the fundamental human rights rule,” said Ms. Esom.

“And rather than respond to the processes, the 4th and 5threspondents illegally, after they have been served with an order to produce the applicant, they went ahead to obtain another order in Abuja.”

Ms. Esom also urged the court to allow her orally respond to the processes received yesterday and “in the circumstance make an order that the 1st applicant be released as it’s obvious the respondents don’t want the matter to be heard as they want to keep the applicant in detention.”

Responding to the claims of Ms. Esom, counsel to 2nd and 3rdrespondents, Mr. Ocholi informed the court that the processes were not filed on Wednesday as alleged by Mrs. Esom, but on 9th May.

“The fourth and fifth respondents have pending applications before this court where the jurisdiction of my lordship was challenged. If my lord is disposed to hear this matter, we are prepared for that,” said Mr. Ocholi.

When allowed to move her originating motion which sought twelve relieves, Ms. Esom urged the court “to make an order to protect the fundamental human rights of the first applicant.”

“The first to sixth respondents have been harassing the applicant because the seventh to ninth respondents say the applicant is indebted to them. The through-put agreement recognises that there are some instances where products are diverted and the contracts shows that and is nothing that would warrant a criminal offence.”

Mr. Ocholi, in his response filed a counter affidavit, dated May 9, 2017, where he observed that “there is no infraction alleged in the 103 paragraph of the originating motion. They haven’t said we did anything to bring us to court. I therefore urge my lord to dismiss this application.”

While also responding to the originating motion, Mr. Okerinmodu told the court that the applicant through his application intends to distract the agencies ongoing investigation.

“This is a case of economic sabotage which a court in Abuja have ordered we go on with our investigation. I urge this court to dismiss this application.”

“This suit should be struck out because this court don’t have the jurisdiction to hear this matter. The court in Lagos lacks the jurisdiction to hear this matter as there is also a federal court in Abuja,” said Mr. Okerinmodu.

Mr. Turaki, a senior lawyer, while aligning with Mr. Okerinmodu, challenged the jurisdiction of the court as he also submitted that the matter before the court should not be considered a human rights matter.

According to him “that one comes to court and cries that my rights have been taken does not make it a fundamental rights issue.”

“Since the beginning of this administration, several allegations have been levelled against the 8th respondent and investigations have been carried out and we need to tell the people where the money has been. Why did they not write, indicating the whereabouts of the products,” said Mr. Turaki.

In response, Ms. Esom told the court that “the second respondent is a statutory body as it’s a creation of a statute, that is, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Act and have taken steps to infringe the rights of the 1st applicant as they deployed their operatives to the Lagos office of the 1stapplicant seeking to arrest the chief operating officer and that’s why we brought them to court.”

“Even if money were owed, it is not still enough for an arrest. The functions and duties of State Security Service are clearly stated in the NSA and does not include recovery of debts. There is no correlation of national security and the facts presented before this court.”


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  • Omoba1

    This is not the first time Ifeanyi Ubah is diverting petroleum products. I remember the case between him and access bank that led to the removal of Cosmas Maduka as a director in Access Bank

    • Khalid

      you are very much on point, Without sentiment without celebrating a drug lord, a criminal etc…. This Man record on crime is only accommodated here in Nigeria….

  • kinsly

    How can a lawyer come to court and claim that diversion of petroleum products meant for the whole Federation is not a criminal matter? I am still amazed on how and which law school produced all these riffraff’s called lawyers.

    • Julius

      Well, you know lawyers will blow smoke, spew nonsense to defend their clients. That’s why they are being paid handsomely. It up to the Judge to cut them off. So, I won’t blame the lawyer.

  • Rabiu

    Where are those saying Mr ubah crossed over to APC to avoid prosecution? They alleged that APC members are being shield by this government. Bury your heads in shame

  • Ceejay Iloelunachi

    Laughable for NNPC to accuse someone or firm of economic sabotage. One begins to wonder if the national corporation has been just in their services to the nation. No one is arguing if an offence has been committed here, it’s only the courts who will decide his culpability but the continued detention and manoeuvring by the DSS/EFCC to produce him in court tells me this is more political and agenda driven.

    • FineBoy

      What is Political about holding a rogue in cell?
      Define Economic sabotage

      • Ceejay Iloelunachi

        You don come again? You have already tagged him a rogue when he hasn’t been convicted. You should be defining economic sabotage here cos even the EFCC/ DSS can now be said to be a guilty party because jobs are at risk and employees will bear the brunt for their irresponsible behaviour. In developed countries, the firm is targeted for prosecution but in Nigeria we go for individuals making it look political and agenda driven not minding the consequences.

        • FineBoy

          He is a rogue because he did admit that using others product is the practice in the sector. Practice and legally aren’t same.
          In Developed Countries, Companies are separate from Key Owners. Not so here. That is why we always have a key-man risk. Check that Company, he alone calls the shots, remove the Veil and its Infeanyi Uba.
          Jobs have always remained at risk, as diverting public asset for few use jeopardize majority.
          All the Lehman Brothers CEOs suffered and not just the firm that went to Chapter 11.
          Don’t tell me you support criminality

          • Ceejay Iloelunachi

            Only God knows why you can’t be objective in your analysis. Until you do, then we can discuss more. Keep seeing yourself as a saint. Are u even a Nigerian?

          • FineBoy

            You have to define objectivity.
            Using what u r a care taker without authority is OK to u as long as ur brother is the predator and govt is the abused?

  • share Idea

    Last Year we were told how Olusanya looted the treasury when he was Head Office, FFW to now, same government dropped the charge and he was acquitted by court. Is it the same Ifeanyi Ubah that was always bailing out the FG whenever there is fuel crisis of sabotage by marketers that this clueless government is telling the gullible that he sabotaged them.

    NNPC not fulfilling their own contractual agreement to Capital Oil, does it amount to award of excellence? Nigeria we hail thee

    • Oskirin

      sule,,,did u follow d story from d inception? pls go n read through and come back to talk sense.if not,remain silent for d rest of ur life.

      • share Idea

        As custodian of knowledge, pls can you summarise what happened if my understanding of the scenario as stated earlier does not fully reflect the reality. Nigeria we hail thee

      • Dav

        Its a shame that people from yoruba extraction have only insults to give. Its a shame really

  • SAM .A

    Ifeanyi Ubah , the well known economic saboteur , who was busy stealing and selling off the petroleum product stored in his farm tank , and boast of it openly is the guy the Ohaneze came out in support . Why is it that when one of their own is caught with his hands in cookie jar , they say it is business , what business is Ubah doing short changing his benefactor . Let this case go through its normal channel . It is time to clean Nigerian off economic saboteurs , thieves and corruption , irrespective of tribe . Let this case be .

    • Dav

      Mr Ifeanyi uba did not steal jack. The NNPC hid 10million litres in his tank farm. He sold it to Nigerians during the scarcity. He remitted their own portion to them but they want it all. Nigerians should stop falling into the trap of media trials.