A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, has sentenced 10 pirates to 12 years imprisonment, with a fine of N250,000 on each count, for hijacking a Chinese merchant’s vessel.
The suspects were charged with a three-count charge bordering on piracy, in contravention of the provisions of sections 3, 10 and 12 of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019.
- Teenager dies as residents attempt to lynch Fulani men in Kaduna
- Column No.6: Sallah has come and gone…
Daily Trust recalls that the Nigerian Navy, in May 2020, rescued 18 crew members during the pirates’ operation that involved hijacking the Chinese vessel, FV HAILUFENG II.
A statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Suleman Dahun, disclosed that the defendants were Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adeola Philip, Matthew Masi and Bright Agbedeyi.
Delivering the judgement Friday, Justice Ayokunle Faji said piracy had been an embarrassment to the country and impacted the economy negatively.
The court also stated that punishment for such act must be proportionate to the offence committed by the convicts to serve as deterrence to others.
The lead counsel, Mr Labaran Magaji, in his submission, said the verdict would send a strong warning to other criminal elements, that Nigeria has zero-tolerance for maritime criminals.