Justice Adekunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Friday, sentenced 10 pirates to 12 years’ imprisonment each for hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel.
The vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, is said to belong to Haina Fishing Company.
The convicts are – Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.
The pirates were arraigned on a four-count charge by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on July 13, 2020.
The prosecution said the convicts committed the offences on the international waters in Abidjan in May last year.
The judge reserved judgment for Friday after parties concluded evidence and adopted written addresses.
In the judgment, he found the defendants guilty on all the charges and convicted them accordingly.
Justice Faji sentenced each of them to a concurrent term of 12 years’ imprisonment, and ordered each to pay a fine of N1 million.
He held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the convicts hijacked the vessel.
The judge said: “I agree with the prosecution counsel, Labaran Mogaji, that the prosecution has proved the essential ingredients of the offences committed by each of the defendants.
“The defendants conspired to commit the illegal act. All the defendants acted in hijacking the ship to achieve their common goal.
“I consequently, find each of the defendants guilty as charged in all the counts.
“Each defendant is hereby sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment; in addition, the defendants are to pay a fine of N1 million each.”
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