A Lagos Federal High Court yesterday ordered the remand of two petrol station owners, Lookman Onabanjo and Lukman Eluku, in prison for allegedly dealing in petroleum products loaded from vandalised pipelines.
Onabanjo, 50, and Eluku, 52, are the chief executive officers of Bugon Oil and Gas Limited, and Gaffa Oil and Gas Limited, respectively.
The two were remanded shortly after their separate arraignments on three counts each before Justice Mohammed Yunusa.
Arraigned and also remanded along with Onabanjo were Sani Idris, 34, and Bode Jonah, 39, while one Solomon Afolabi, 30, and Adesimisola Ogunsanya, 36, were arraigned and remanded alongside Eluku.
In the charge filed against Onabanjo and his co-accused, the police prosecutor, M.O. Omosun alleged that the accused were on August 15 this year caught with 16,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit loaded in several 50 litre jerry cans.
According to Omosun, the petroleum product which the accused dealt in belonged to Pipeline and Product Marketing Company and they did so without appropriate licence.
The petroleum product was said to be worth N1.55million.
The prosecutor said Onabanjo and others violated Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Act 2007, and punishable under Section 17(b) of the same Act.
However, Onabanjo and co-accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the case of Eluku, the prosecutor accused him and his alleged accomplices of illegally loading 25,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit from a vandalised pipeline into a Mercedes truck with registration number APP 04 QX.
The prosecutor informed the court that the accused persons allegedly loaded the said quantity of PMS valued at N1.6million, without obtaining lawful permit from the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company, which owned the petroleum product.
The accused persons were alleged to have committed the offence also on August 15 this year, which is contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 of the Revised Edition, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Act 2007.
However, the three accused persons also pleaded not guilty.
Upon their plea of innocence, the prosecutor urged the court to remand them in prison pending trial.
However, the prosecutor’s remand application was opposed by the counsel for the defendants, Mr. McAnthony Aikharialea, who informed the court that he had filed a bail application for his clients, and urged the court to grant it in liberal terms.
Aikharialea said the defendants had responsible sureties and assured the court that if they were granted bail they would not abscond and would attend trial at all times.
The presiding Justice Yunusa, while ruling on the submissions of both parties, adjourned till August 28 to rule on the bail application while he ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prisons custody.

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