Murder of NNPC engineers: Court adjourns trial of suspects

The case, which was fixed for trial, was stalled due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who is said to be away for the annual Judges Conference

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday adjourned the trial of 10 persons charged with the murder of three engineers of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation till January 27, 2014.
The engineers were allegedly killed at Arepo in Ogun State when they went for routine maintenance of petroleum pipelines.
The accused are Joel Inerepamu, 25; Reuben Oluwole, 60; John Isaiah, 28; Ineye Okposa, 40; Timi Gunugunu, 22; and Olisa Saheed, 25.
Others are Jigo Jiperende, 31; Timi Koro, 29; Johnbosco Igbhofose, 26; and Peter Opidi, 28.
They are standing trial on an amended seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, vandalism and murder.
The case, which was fixed for trial, was stalled due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who is said to be away for the annual Judges Conference.
The accused were re-arraigned on April 29 on an amended seven-count charge.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges but Idris had ordered their remand at the Ikoyi Prisons, urging the prosecution to ensure a speedy trial.
At the last hearing on November 1, the Prosecutor, Justin Enang, opened his case after the suit had suffered several adjournments at his instance.
Idris had urged the prosecution to ensure accelerated trial of the case, since it involved the personal liberties of the individuals.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offence on September 5, 2012 at about 6pm at Arepo in Ogun State.
The prosecutor had told the court that they had conspired to vandalise an oil pipeline, located in the vicinity, and scooped large quantities of petrol for illegal sale.
He said that when they sighted the NNPC personnel on routine maintenance of pipelines in the area, they opened fire on them.
Enang said that the accused shot three of the engineers dead.
The prosecutor said that vandalism of pipelines contravened the provisions of Sections 3(6), 7(a), 7(b), and 17(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He said that the offence of murder contravened Section 319 of the Criminal Code, Cap C 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Murder, which is a capital offence, carries the death penalty.

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