The Federal Government has arraigned 12 suspected oil thieves in connection with the intercepted Cameroon-bound vessel laden with 150 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil.

The Federal Government arraigned the 12 suspected oil thieves before the Federal High Court in Asaba.

The charge had as defendants, Cobbina Paul & ORS.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the two counts contained in the charge sheet were read to them before Justice F.A. Olubanjo.

The prosecuting counsel for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, O. F Okai, prayed the court to remand the defendants in the custodial facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service while a date was fixed for the commencement of trial.

The defence counsel, Paul Ejiga, made an oral bail application, saying he was informed about the arraignment late.

In a ruling, however, Justice Olubanjo declined the oral bail application.

She subsequently adjourned the case till October 26 for trial.

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