By Akin Kuponiyi
Ten suspected pirates were on Monday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria for hijacking a fishing vessel, named FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.
The ten defendants, alleged to be 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.
In a three-count charge preferred against them by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the defendants sometimes in May this year while armed with weapons, were alleged to have committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board of 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 on the international water in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, thereby violating Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019 and were liable to be punished under Section 2 of the same Act.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding Judge, Ayokunle Faji, while adjourning the case till July 15, 2020 for the hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and commencement of trial, ordered that they should be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Navy, which brought them to court amidst heavy security.