23rd July, 2021
A Federal High Court in Ikoyi has sentenced 10 pirates involved in the 2020 hijack of a merchant vessel FV HAILUFENG II to 12 years imprisonment each.
They will also pay a N250,000.00 fine on each count.
The pirates jailed were Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki and David Akinseye.
The others were Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.
Commodore Suleman Dahun, who spoke on behalf of Chief Naval Staff, said the verdict was major victory for Nigeria’s new anti-piracy law.
Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi said piracy has been an embarrassment to the nation and has impacted the economy negatively.
Hence, Justice Faji stated that punishment for this act must be proportionate to the offence committed by the convicts to serve as deterrence to others.
The lead prosecution counsel, Mr Labaran Magaji said that the verdict would send strong warning to other criminal elements that Nigeria has zero tolerance for maritime criminals.
He also said Nigerian institutions, both Nigerian Navy, prosecuting agencies and security agencies are ready to counter criminal activities.
The defence counsel has promised to appeal the judgment.
The journey to jail for the pirates began last year May when Nigerian Navy (NN) rescued 18 crew members on board a Chinese vessel, FV HAILUFENG II from pirates’ attack.
Subsequently, 10 pirates were charged before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.
The suspects were slammed with three counts on piracy, with the offence contravening the provisions of Section 3, 10 and 12 of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019.