Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, has berated the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Oyo State over its poor handling of pipeline vandalism and oil theft cases instituted against seven accused persons.
The seven accused persons–Sarafa Aloyinlapa, Hakeem Ameed, Hassan Ayede, Abdulrauf Gbadagesin, Sola Adegoke, Suleiman Adeniji and Noah Yane– were arrested on April 30, 2016, at Saki area of Oyo State.
They had all pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, pipeline vandalism and stealing of Premium Motor Spirit totaling 33,000 litres instituted against them.
Ayo-Emmanuel held that none of the exhibits tendered before the court linked the accused to the crime.
He said: “I must say that the investigation of this case was shabbily handled by the NSCDC as a lot of grounds were left uncovered which has led to what the matter is today.
“The prosecution failed to clearly state the charges for which the defendants were brought to court; if they had conspired to commit murder or armed robbery was not stated.
“The defendants cannot be tried on an erroneous and incurably defective charges.
“I will therefore, not place any significance on the evidence because the court is left to speculate on the evidence tendered by the prosecution.
“No sample of the stolen PMS as well as the tools, trucks, and so on were tendered before the court to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt to show that the suspects truly committed the crime.
“Furthermore, the few exhibits presented by the NSCDC failed to satisfy the requirements of Section 4 of the Evidence Act.
“In conclusion, the defendants are discharged and acquitted of the charges against them.”
In his response to the judgment, S.O. Ajayi, the defence counsel, commended the court’s pronouncement, describing the judiciary as the last hope of the people.