Abuja- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned 14 persons suspected to have vandalised NNPC pipelines, before Justice Elvis Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
They are Joseph Amaechi, Israel Friday, Ubadia Francis, Abayomi Adebisi, Abdullahi Idris, Samuel Job, Onah Peter-Ode and Sabo Tasha-Hassan.
Others are Abdullahi Mohammed, Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ehiogu Paul, Ibrahim Saidu, Garba Mohammed and Bartholomew Onyema.
When the charges were read to them, the accused, who are facing charges of conspiracy, willful and malicious breaking of petroleum pipeline and unlawful dealing in petroleum products, pleaded not guilty.
They are alleged to have committed the offences in March at Kilometre 82, Piri Village on the Abaji-Lokoja Road.
The prosecutor, Mrs Elizabeth Ayodele, said the offences contravened the provisions of sections 1(7) (a) (b) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 Laws of Nigeria.
Ayodele called the first witness, Meilafia Yakubu, who told the court how the accused persons were arrested.
Yakubu, an operative of the EFCC, said the accused were arrested at a military checkpoint at Toto in Nasarawa State by officers of the 177 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army.
He said they were attempting to transport 14 trailer loads of crude oil to some destinations in the northern part of the country.
Ayodele told the court not to grant the accused bail on the grounds that the offences were grievous ones and attract more than 20 years jail term.
Messrs Rotimi Ojo and Sunday Okowa, counsel to the accused, made oral application for their bail.
Chukwu adjourned further hearing in the case to May 14 and reserved ruling on the bail application for May 27.