A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 sentenced nine foreigners to five-year jail terms for the theft of 3,423,097 metric tons of crude oil from Nigeria.
Four of those convicted are from Bangladesh while the others are from Philippines. The convicts has been arrested by the Nigerian Navy since March 27, 2015 when the then suspects were trying to transport the stolen crude oil out of the country in a MT Asteris vessel.
The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba convicted the nine foreigners on a four-count charge and slammed a five-year jail term on them with the option of N20 million. The judge was convinced by the authenticity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission case against the foreigners.
“The case of the prosecution is as clear as the daylight.
“It is people like the convicts that have made Nigeria a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. The court must send a strong signal that Nigeria is a nation; not a nation of booty. It is not right for either Nigerians or foreign nationals to deny this country its God-given natural resources through illegal use,” Justice Buba noted.
He then went on to issue the sentence:
“This court hereby sentence each of the convicts to five years term of imprisonment on count one with effect from March 27, 2015 with an option of N5 million fine.”
”All the sentences are to run concurrently but not the option of fine. In addition, the vessel, MT Asteris, and the cargo on board are forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“For purposes of clarity, each convict is to serve five years term of imprisonment with effect from 27 of March, 2015 or a fine of N20 million for all the four counts.”
The 9 convicted foreigners are: Islam Shahinul, Islam Rafiqul, Shaikh Shibli Nomany, Rolando Jose Comendador, Axel Joseph Gibo Jabone, MD Zahirul Islam, Juanito Camireno Infantado, Suarin Fernando Alave and Gatila Jaypee Gadayan.