A 60-year-old man, Oluwole Reuben, and five others were on Thursday arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court for the alleged murder of three engineers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Reuben, along with five others, Inerepamu Joel (25), John Isaiah (28), Ineye Okposa (40), Timi Gunugunu (22), and Saheed Mudashiru (25), are facing a seven-count charge; two of the charges are of murder and vandalisation of oil pipeline.
The accused persons were said to have committed the crime on September, 5, 2012 at Arepo area of Ogun State.
The police prosecutor, Mr. Friday Ibadin, told the court that the six accused persons and others now at large, conspired among themselves to commit the alleged crimes.
He said they tampered with and broke the NNPC pipeline in order to transport refined oil, adding that they tampered with the free flow of refined petroleum product through the pipeline.
Ibadin said the accused persons committed the offence without lawful authority or appropriate licence.
He also alleged that the defendants murdered the three employees – Agbaku Oau, Ernest Ngene and Ikechuku Ikenem – by shooting them with a pump action gun while they were carrying out repairs on the vandalised pipelines at Arepo.
According to Ibadin, the offences are punishable under sections 3 (6), 7 (b) of miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 and Section 319 of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation 2004.
“I urge this honourable court to commence full trial of the case, as all the witnesses involved in the case are all present in court,” Ibadin said.
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty. Justice Mohammed Idris however ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody as they did not have any legal representation.
Ibadin asked the court to allow the accused access to lawyer in line with the procedure of the court.
The judge adjourned the matter till December 18, 2012, for trial.