Alleged pipeline vandal vanishes after arraignment

Court symbol used to illustrate the story.

An alleged pipeline vandal Thursday vanished into thin air moments after he was arraigned before a federal judge in Lagos.

Kingsley Ibeto was charged with two counts of conspiracy and felony by unlawfully dealing in petroleum products by the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps and brought before Chuka Obiozor, a judge of a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Ibeto committed the offence on January 14 around the Ile-Epo/Oke-odo area along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, Rita Ezeli, are contrary to section 3(6) of miscellaneous offence act, Cap. M17, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 1(7) of the same act.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After his plea was taken, the defendant’s lawyer, Babatunde Adeyanju, informed the judge that the bail application he filed on behalf of his client was not in the court’s file, a situation that led to the judge standing down the matter for it to be resolved.

The prosecutor had also told the court that she was yet to be served with the bail application.

However, while the matter was stood down for his bail application to be brought before the court, the accused disappeared to thin air.

When the case was recalled after his bail application had been brought, the accused was nowhere to be found.

Phone calls by his lawyer to his mobile phone were not answered and all efforts to get hold of him were unsuccessful.

Mr Adeyanju pleaded with the judge to grant him a short adjourned date to enable him find the accused.

The judge adjourned till August 28.

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