By Onozure Dania – Lagos
Ten pirates who hijacked a fishing vessel, named FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company, were On Monday arraigned by the Federal Government.
The defendants, who are resident in Nigeria, are Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.
They are facing a three-count charge before Justice Ayokunle Faji, of a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos.
The office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which is prosecuting them, told the court that the defendants “while armed with weapons, committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board FV Hai Lu Feng II, a fishing vessel belonging to Haina Fishery Company, by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.”
The prosecuting counsel for the Federal Government, Laraban Magaji, said the defendants committed the offense in May, on the international water at Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
He said that the offense committed, violates Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019 and were liable to punishment under Section 2 of the same Act.
However, the defendants, pleaded not guilty, to the charge preferred against them by the Federal Government.
While adjourning the case till July 15, 2020, for the hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and commencement of trial, Justice Faji ordered that they should be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Navy, which brought them to court amidst heavy security.