Naval officer, 11 others arraigned for bunkering

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a naval officer, Mrs. Bola Labinjo, before a Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged bunkering.

Labinjo was arraigned alongside 11 others, a vessel and two firms before Justice Muslim Hassan on a two-count charge of illegal dealing in petroleum products.

The other accused are Jonathan Abaka aka Joy Boy, Charles Ikemefuna, Benjamin Gold Gageche, Hamzat Yakubu, Emmanuel Oputa, Peter Dung Pule and Innocent Akpan.

Others are Kehinde Labinjo, Pius Matthew Paul, Onoja Emmanuel and Adeleke Hamed. They, however, denied the allegations.

A vessel, M. T. Adeline Jumbo and two firms, Global Shipping Activities Bureau Limited and Labland and Sea Services Limited, were joined as co-defendants.

After the arraignment, the EFCC’s lawyer, Oluwakemi Yemi-Makinde, sought for a trial date and also asked that they be remanded in prison.

Responding, lawyers representing Labinjo, Abaka, Benjamin and Yakubu, pleaded with the court to allow their clients continue on the existing bail conditions granted them by Justice Chuka Obiozor before whom they were earlier arraigned for a similar offence.

Justice Obiozor had admitted them to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety each in like sum.

In a Bench ruling, Justice Hassan granted the lawyers’ request. He also admitted other defendants to bail in similar conditions while deferring the hearing of the vessel’s bail application till December 2.

At yesterday’s proceedings, the court’s attention was drawn to t he plight of a retired naval officer, Captain Dada Labinjo, who was listed in the charge as an accomplice at large by the EFCC and has remained in the custody of the Navy since 2018 despite a court’s order mandating his release.

Hassan consequently directed the anti-graft agency to locate Labinjo’s whereabouts and ensure his presence in court on December 2.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that all the defendants sometimes in 2018, within the Nigerian Maritime domain and the court’s jurisdiction, conspired with Segun Sahiyu, Ogunmoyero Oluwaseun Eric, Akpan Friday Itoro, Mr. Richard, Captain Felix, Captain Jude, Engineer Teddy, Mr. Michael, MT Juko, Captain Dada Olaniyi Olabinjo, all said to be at large, to commit the alleged illegal act.

The offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 17(a) &(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised edition) 2004.

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