The Rivers State Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt has remanded ten suspected oil thieves to the Correctional Centre in the capital city.
Chief Magistrate Amadi Nna remanded the suspects after their plea of not guilty to a two-count charge of conspiracy and economic sabotage.
In a charge read out in court, the suspects were alleged to have conspired to defraud the Federal Government of revenue without lawful authority.
They were among 18 suspects paraded by Rivers State Police Command for involvement in illegal oil bunkering activities.
The suspects were alleged to have purchased or otherwise come into possession of an economic mineral, an offence, punishable under the section of Criminal Section and Miscellaneous Offence Act Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria.
It was gathered that shortly after the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge, Chief Magistrate Nna declined jurisdiction to handle the matter and ordered that the suspects be remanded in Port Harcourt Correctional Center before adjourning till a later date.
Counsel representing the suspects, Okonima Egbong-Esseh, who confirmed the development to newsmen, said: “The defendants were arraigned, the charge read and they pleaded not guilty to the charge.
“The court declined jurisdiction because the fact before the court was out of the jurisdiction of the court.”