Oil and Gas

Prosecuting oil theft in Nigeria is slow and arduous – Stakeholders

The Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Major-General, Emmanuel Atewe, has said that the Federal Government is prosecuting 23 cases involving the use of barges and vessels for oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, but added that the pace of prosecuting such cases is slow in Nigerian courts, The Nation reports.

Atewe said the cases are at the Federal and State High Courts in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He said the cases are at various levels of litigation, but added that cases regarding oil theft and illegal oil bunkering are usually delayed in Nigeria, and urged the judiciary to help in fast-tracking the process of hearing the cases to ensure speedy delivery of judgment.

The senior partner, Falana & Co, Mr. Femi Falana, has also blamed those involved in oil theft and bunkering for delaying the process of hearing the cases. He said: “Bunkering can be problematic when one considers the fact that people involved in it have the economic wherewithal to frustrate their trials. The legal system has been taken over by these people to frustrate their trials. They do this by raising objections and filling interlocutory injunctions. When this happens, they have succeeded in delaying hearing and judgments.”

Also, sources close to the National Judicial Council (NJC) said lawyers should be blamed for delaying the process of hearing criminal cases, and not the judges. The sources, who craved anonymity, said lawyers often file interlocutory injunctions to halt proceedings in a case.

Source: Energy Mix

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