NIPP Project: Court Sends 7 Men To Prison For Equipment’s Diversion, Theft

A Lagos Federal High Court, today, ordered the remand of seven men, for alleged diversion and stealing of equipment meant for the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).

Those ordered to be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) in connection with the alleged conversation and stealing were: Patrick Ocheme Michael; Ashiru Gbolahan Samuel; Kayode Ayebanji; Nurudeen Olanrewaju Abiola; Vincent Sammy; Mutiu Lawal (A.K.A. Are) and Ahmed Olanrewaju (AKA ‘Owoegbe’)

Justice Abimbola Awogboro made the remand order against all the defendants, after they pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, unlawful diversion and stealing of equipments meant for the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), made against them by the Department of State Security (DSS).

All the defendants were arraigned alongside a company, Jokapat Advanced Logistics & Trade Operation Centre Limited, allegedly belongs to Patrick Ocheme Michael.

Arraigning the defendants today, the prosecutor, 

The prosecutor, Mrs. O. O. Fakolujo, told that all the defendants, sometime in October, 2021, at 2nd Rainbow, along Mile 2, Oshodi Express Road, Lagos, conspired among themselves and diverted two 1x20FT containers with Nos: MEDU 6336802 and MEDU 6513169, containing disassembled steel Electricity transmission towers for National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Ikom and Obudu site in Cross River State.

She told the court that the defendants used a truck with registration number XLE-127-XA, to carry the NIPP equipments, consisting the Steel Electricity Transmission Towers worth over N100 million, and sold it Owode Onirin, Mile 12, Kosofe Local Government Area, Lagos State.

The prosecution further informed the court that the dou of Mutiu Lawal, a.k.a. Are and  Ahmed Olanrewaju Azeez, a.k.a Owoegbe and others now at large, sometime in October, 2021, at Owode Onirin, Kosofe Local Government Area, Lagos State, conspired among themselves and received the said  equipments containing piecesed and disassembled electricity transmission towers meant for National Integrated power project (NIPP).

The offences according to the prosecution contravened sections 516, 390(4) and 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (As Amended). 

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges 

Following their not guilty plea to the charges, the prosecutor, Mrs. Fakolujo, asked the court for a trial date.

She also urged the court to remand all the defendants in the NCOs’ custody till the determination of the charges against them.

However, the defendants’ lawyers who include: D. O. Ohemu; Babajide Somorim; Ita A. E.; U. I. Izuagie and Mrs. Y. O. Adebanjo, told the court that they are not opposed to the trial date requested for by the prosecutor.

While of the lawyers told the court that they have filed and served their clients’ bail applications on the prosecution, others asked for a very short date, to file and serve their client bail applications.

Following counsel’s submissions, Justice Awogboro adjourned the matter till June 6 and 20, for hearing of bail applications and commencement of trial respectively.

The judge also ordered that all the defendants be remanded in the NCOS’ custody till the determination of their bail applications.