Court orders forfeiture of 500 vessels, others used for stealing oil
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of about 500 vessels, boats, barges, trucks, tankers and motorcycles seized from alleged oil thieves nationwide.
The Federal Government had filed two ex-parte applications, seeking the forfeiture of the items and these were granted by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on August 10 after taking arguments from applicants’ lawyer, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN).
The applications are marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/741/2017 and FHC/ABJ/CS/742/2017
The affected items and their consignments, according to court documents, were seized from alleged oil thieves by the Nigerian Navy and the Inspector General of Police’s Special Task Force on Petroleum/Illegal Bunkering.
By the ruling of the court, the owners of the affected items and the consignments have been given 14 days to show cause why the items should not be forfeited to the federal government permanently.
Part of the ruling reads: “That order of interim forfeiture is hereby granted to the first applicant – FRN -, of all the items listed in the schedule attached to this motion, marked as Exhibits OB1 – OB3, including, but not limited to vessels, barges, boats, laden cargo pending the final determination of the originating motion on notice.
“That order of interim forfeiture is hereby granted to the first applicant – FRN – of all the items listed in the schedule attached to this motion, marked as Exhibit BB1, including, but not limited to motor vehicles (trucks, tankers, buses, cars and cycles – tricycles and motorcycles) and the goods/products contained therein, pending the final determination of the originating motion on notice.”
The court also granted an order allowing the applicants to appoint a registered/certified valuer, auctioneer or any other person(s) or agency/body as may deem fit by the applicants to ascertain the value of the affected items before they are disposed of.