The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court Friday sentenced 10 pirates to a total of 120 years in prison for hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, in May last year.
In addition to each of the convicts spending 12 years behind bars, they would also pay a cumulative fine of N10 million.
Justice Ayokunle Faji convicted the defendants on all four counts as charged.
The judge held: “I agree with the prosecution counsel, Labaran Magaji that the prosecution has proved the essential ingredients of the offence 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.
“Consequently I find each of the defendants guilty as charged on all the counts.
“Each defendant is hereby sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
“In addition, the defendants should pay a fine of N1million each.
“The offence committed by the defendants affects the wellbeing of Nigerians and our image in the diaspora.
“The naira sum, dollars, and various currencies recovered from the defendants by the Nigerian Navy are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The convicts, who reside in Nigeria, are Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi, and Bright Agbedeyi.
They were arraigned in July 2020 by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) for allegedly hijacking the Chinese vessel in international waters off the coast of Cote D’Ivoire.
They pleaded not guilty and were remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Navy, following which trial commenced.