By Tarkaa David
Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in his judgement submitted that piracy has been an embarrassment to the nation and has impacted the economy negatively.
In a statement by the director information, Naval Headquarters in Abuja, Commodore Suleman Dahun, qouted Justice Faji as saying that punishment for the act must be proportionate to the offence committed by the convicts to serve as deterrence to others.
In his submission, 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.
The defence counsel, however, promised to appeal the judgment.
The Nigerian Navy (NN) had on May 21, 2020 rescued 18 crew members on board a Chinese vessel, FV HAILUFENG II from pirates’ attack.
Subsequently, 10 suspects were charged before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.
The suspects were charged with three-count 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.
The defendants included Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.