- To pay N10million extra fine
- As NIMASA DG lauds President Buhari on SPOMO Act
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The Federal High Court in Lagos, has today Friday, July 23, 2021, invoked the powers of the law against pirates robbing and hijacking vessels on high sea.
The Court fearlessly sentenced 10 pirates to 120 years in prison for an offence of hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II.
That was not all. In addition to each of the convicts getting 12 years jail sentence, they will also pay a whopping sum of N10 million as cumulative fine.
Delivering the Judgement in Lagos, Justice Ayokunle Faji, convicted the defendants on all the charges brought against them in Court.
The culprits, who are all living in Nigeria include; Bright Agbedeyi; Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi and Joshua Iwiki
Financial Business News inquest revealed that the crime for which the 10 pirates committed took place in May last year (2020). The offenders were arraigned in July 2020, by the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), for allegedly hijacking the Chinese vessel in international waters, off the Coast of Cote D’Ivoire.
Thus, the offenders pleaded not guilty but were remanded in the custody of Nigerian Navy until trial started fully on the case.
Giving details of the judgement, Justice Faji, started clearly that the prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt that the 10 persons actually hijacked the vessel – FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.
His assertions: “I agree with the Prosecution Counsel, Labaran Morggji. The Prosecution has proven all essential ingredients of the offence committed by each of the defendants. The defendants conspired to commit the illegal act against the Company.”
Justice Faji, expressed displeasure on the attitude of the offenders, stressing that their crime constitutes an embarrassment to the Nigerian nation, with negative impact on the economy.
More so, the latest verdict will serve as deterrent to Sea robbers carrying out their nefarious activities on the waters off Nigeria’s Coast, though the Defence Counsel said the convicts will appeal the judgement.
Recall that the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, at a recent press conference, held in Eko hotel, Lagos, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari, on his
endorsement of Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act.
According to him, signing the SPOMO Act by the President, provided a legal backing for prosecution of pirates.
Dr Jamoh explained that, aside from paving the way for NIMASA to convict sea robbers, the SPOMO Act, is the first of its kind in the entire Gulf of Guinea, even as it is fast becoming a model for other African countries. The Act was passed by the 9th National Assembly.