For daring to hijack a Chinese Merchant Vessel, FV HAILUFENG 11, within Nigerian territorial waters, Ten Pirates would spend 12 years of their remaining lives behind prison Bars
Besides Imprisonment, the convicts were ordered to pay a fine of N250,000.00 on each Count charge. The Judgement , according to Judiciary stakeholders, is a major victory for Nigeria’s new anti-piracy law. Ten pirates were involved in the 2020 hijack of a merchant vessel FV HAILUFENG II Delivering judgement , Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi submitted that piracy has been an embarrassment to the nation and has impacted the economy negatively.
Justice Faji also stated that punishment for this act must be proportionate to the offence committed by the convicts to serve as deterrence to others.
In his submission earlier, the lead prosecution counsel, Mr. Labaran Magaji, averred that the verdict would send a strong warning to other criminal elements that Nigeria has zero tolerance for maritime criminals and that Nigerian institutions, both Nigerian Navy, prosecuting agencies and security agencies are ready to counter criminal activities.
However, the defence counsel has promised to appeal the judgment. It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy (NN) rescued 18 crew members on board a Chinese vessel, FV HAILUFENG II from pirates’ attack on May 15, 2020. Subsequently, 10 suspects were charged before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi. The suspects were charged on 3 counts of piracy, which the offences contravened the provisions of Section 3, 10 and 12 of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019.
The Convicts included Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.