FG arraigns 10 pirates for hijacking Chinese ship near Abidjan

The Federal Government on Monday arraigned 10 suspected pirates for the hijack of a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, in international waters off Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire.

The defendants – Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi and Bright Agbedeyi – were arraigned before Justice Ayokunle Faji at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) charged the men on three counts which they all pleaded not guilty to.

The government told the court that the defendants “while armed with weapons, committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board FV Hai Lu Feng II belonging to Haina Fishing Company by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.”

Prosecution counsel, Laraban Magaji, told the court that the incident occurred in May.

Mr Magaji said it violated Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019 and was punishable under Section 2 of the same Act.

Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered that the defendants be remanded in the Nigerian Navy’s custody until Wednesday for the hearing of their bail applications and commencement of trial.