Detectives at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad at Adeniji Adele, Lagos Island, southwest Nigeria, have arrested a member of a seven-man piracy gang, Jude Omashin, 29, who allegedly hijacks and robs oil vessels of its contents on the high sea.

Jude Omashin

Jude Omashin

The suspect, according to the police, was arrested following a tip off by members of the public who noticed his unusual lifestyle and spending spree around his residence at Iyana Era area of Ijanikin, Lagos after he allegedly collected a share of N7 million after their last operation before he was arrested.

The money was said to have been given to him by their gang leaders simply identified as Bayo and Stephen after they sold stolen diesel at a give away price of over N100 million.

He  was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s court on a four-count charge of felony to wit, armed robbery.

The police alleged in charge No. E/8/2013 that the accused was arrested at his residence following information they received that the accused is suspected to be a member of a seven-man gang who in June 2012 hijacked a ship conveying diesel to Nigeria from Europe with AK 47 rifles and emptied its contents into their waiting vessel and escaped to sell it.

During  interrogation, the accused allegedly confessed to the crime and said he is a member of 7-man sea piracy gang that robbed an oil vessel on the high sea last year in Badagry area of Lagos.

In his alleged confessional statement to the police, Jude said, “I was a boat fisherman at Ilaje Water Ways in Ondo State, Akure before our leaders, Bayo and Stephen now at large, introduced me into the sea robbery operation in August 2012. I have only participated in one operation with them which fetched me the sum of N7 million and as a new comer in the business, I knew my boss cheated me, because I was told they sold the diesel at a give a way price of over N100 million.

“My duty is to hold all the crew members hostage inside the vessel with AK 47 rifle given to us by Bayo and Stephen, while they would order the sailor to divert the ship to our hideout on the high sea between Badagry and Cotonou, Republic of Benin, and others would stand guard on top of the ship for any eventuality.

“After emptying its contents into our waiting vessel, we would collect all the communication gadgets from all the crew members and escape.”

After the operation, he further stated, everybody would destroy the sim card used during the operation and Bayo would collect all the guns from us and return to Niger Delta creek.

The offences, the prosecutor, Supol C.N. Odii said, are punishable under Section 6 (b) 1 (2) (a) of the robbery and firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The plea of the accused was not taken as the court lacks the jurisdiction to try the matter.

The presiding magistrate, Mr. Adegun ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending the advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution  on the matter.

He adjourned the matter till 14 March, 2013 for mention.

—Paul Iyoghojie