Abuja - The Asian suspects arraigned in court for alleged for illegal oil dealings have suffered a setback after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos dismissed an application they filed before it seeking to quash a four-count charge preferred against them.
The accused comprise five Bangladeshi and four Filipinos namely Axel Joseph Gibo Jabone, MD Zahirul Islam, Juanto Camireno Infantado, Suarin Fernando Alave, Gatila Jaypee Gadayan, Islam Shahinul; Islam Rafiqul, Shaikh Shibli Nomany and Rolando Jose Comendador.
The nine suspects were appealing to the court to strike out the matter entirely on the basis that the prosecution did not secure and obtain a written consent of the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in line with the provisions of the Exclusive Economic Zone Act of Nigeria.
"This court does not find any merit on this application. It is hereby dismissed," ruled Justice Ibrahim Buba.
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Earlier, Captian Chiedozie Donald Okedi, commanding officer of the Nigeria Sailing Ship, Centenary, Victoria Island, Nigeria, narrated to the court how the foreigners were arrested.
He said on March 8, while conducting routine patrol within Lagos territorial waters, his team observed a vessel loitering, with the radar of the vessel off. He said the captain of the ship claimed not to be aware that the radar was off. Asked, the captain allegedly claimed to be conducting ship -to -ship transfer but could not achieve it because of a problem.
Okedi said that some checks on documents of the vessel showed that, it was carrying about 3 000 tonnes of low pour fuel oil and about 1 500 tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil. The vessel was not registered with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
Justice Buba has adjourned the case to June 23.
- CAJ News