Court convicts three for hijacking Equatorial Guinean ship
The Federal High Court, Port Harcourt has convicted three persons for hijacking an Equatorial Guinean flagged vessel, MV ELOBEY VI, in March this year.
The conviction is first of such since the signing into law of the SPOMO Act in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed Sani summarily convicted Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon on counts 1 and 2, ordering them to pay a N20 million fine each.
The Nigerian Navy had arrested nine persons, namely Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar, Ghane Gordon, Hassan Hakeem, Gregory Smith, Ofem Uket, John Mark, Chidi Amadi and Eze Amadi suspected to be members of a kidnapping syndicate.
They were said to have demanded a $2 million ransom out of which $200,000 was eventually paid.
During proceedings on August 10, Johnson, Lemmar and Gordon pleaded guilty to counts 1 and 2 and innocence to counts 3 to 5, while the remaining six accused denied wrongdoing.
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, described the sentence as a signal that “Nigeria is on the right path in the war against piracy and other crimes on the nation’s waterways.”
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