Fourteen foreign nationals who were arraigned before Federal High Court, Lagos, for unlawful storage of 3,3035 metric tonnes of petroleum product, have said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain their case.
The 14 accused foreign nationals through their lawyer, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN), stated this on Wednesday during the proceeding scheduled for their trial.
The accused are three Russians, Arthur Pakhladzhian, Vasaliy Shkundich and Kretov Andrey; one Japanese, Sergio Abgarian; three Ukrainians, Vitalis Biluos, Laguta Olesksiy, Chepikov Oleksan; seven British citizens, Hilarion Teofilo Regipor Jr, Cadavis Gerardo, Baduria Benjamin, Naranjo Allian Antero Jr.
Others include Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel, Carantiquit Micheal Bryan and three vessels namely MT Anukt Emerald, Monjasa DMCC, and Glencore Energy UK Ltd.
They are standing before Justice Ibrahim Buba-led court on a four-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful dealing and storage of petroleum products without lawful authority.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on June 10 arraigned the 14 foreign nationals over alleged illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The prosecutor had informed the court that the 14 accused persons committed the offences in February 27, within the jurisdiction of the court.
He had said the accused allegedly stored 1,500 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil inside the MT Anuket Emerald’s Cargo tank, and also stored 3,035 Metric Tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil, LPFO, in other tanks.
Oyedepo said that the offences contravened Sections 4, 17, 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act and the Petroleum Act, Laws of the Federation.
At the resumed trial of the accused, Mr. Koku informed the court that the accused were not carrying out any illegal activities within Nigeria territorial waters.
He said that the accused were carrying out their activities within the Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ.
He also stated that the accused were charged with the Miscellaneous Offences Act, which has no effect within the EEZ, where the accused were arrested.

READ ALSO  Court warns 2 housewives over frequent fighting