Nigerian court denies bail to 10 suspected pirates

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The Federal High Court in Lagos Nigeria, on Tuesday, refused to grant bail to 10 alleged pirates, who are being tried by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

According to a report by Nigeria’s PUNCH Newspaper, Justice Ayokunle Faji said he could not grant them bail in view of the gravity of the charges against them, which border on threat to national security.

The judge said the offences carry life sentence or a fine not less than N50m.

The defendants 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 on three counts on July 13.

They were accused of hijacking a fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.

PUNCH further reported that the prosecuting counsel for the Federal Government, Laraban Magaji, said the defendants committed the offence in May this year on the international water at Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, thereby violating Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, and were liable to punishment under Section 2 of the same Act.

But they pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s proceedings, the defendants disowned their confessional statements.

Justice Faji adjourned till August 4 for continuation of trial-within-trial during which a video of the statement taking process will be watched.

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