Justice. I. Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted the duo of Eimiuhi Gabriel and Godwin Ossai and their company, Ehikioya Associates Nigeria Limited, for operating a vessel, MT Madam Esther in Nigerian territorial waters without due licence and registration from the appropriate authority.
The trio was arraigned on a one-count charge each by the Benin Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC.
They pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, Austin Ozigbo prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Sani convicted them and ordered them to pay a fine of N500,000 each to the Federal government of Nigeria.
The defendants were arrested in January by men of the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta around Ogbodo Creek and handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.
The charge against one of the defendants read: “that you Eimiuhi Gabriel and others now at large on or about the 26th January 2020 at around Ogbodo Creek within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did without due registration and licence from appropriate authority piloted in Nigerian Territorial Waters MT Madam Esther and in the process depriving the Federal government of Nigeria of revenue and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 of the coastal and inland Shipping Cabotage Act No 5. 2003 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2007 and punishable under Section 40 of the same Act”.
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