First conviction under Nigerian Anti-Piracy Law

12th August 2020

The Federal High Court (FHC) Port Harcourt yesterday convicted three of the nine accused of hijacking an Equatorial Guinea flagged vessel, MV ELOBEY VI off Equatorial Guinea coast during March this year.

Justice Ishaq Sani summarily convicted Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon under the new Anti-Piracy Act 2019 and ordered to pay a fine of N10 Million Naira each on each of the two Counts they were found guilty of. The three were arrested by the Nigerian Navy alongside other members of a suspected kidnapping syndicate that undertook the hijacking incident.

The kidnappers demanded a $2 million ransom out of which $200,000 ransom was eventually paid. After their arrest by the Nigerian Navy, the suspects were arraigned before the FHC, Port Harcourt on 23 July 2020 on a seven count charge to which all the accused persons pleaded not guilty. As a result, the counsel to the accused persons made an application for bail pending conclusion of the trial. Accordingly, the matter was adjourned to 10, 11 and 12 August 2020 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of the trial.

During the hearing, the prosecution filed an amended charge dated 7 August 2020. In its ruling on the bail application, the bail application was denied. Consequently, the court arraigned the accused persons on the amended charges. During the proceedings, Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon pleaded guilty to counts 1 and 2 and not guilty to counts 3 – 5 while the remaining six accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. 

http://maritimereview.co.za/article/ArtMID/450/ArticleID/405/Historic-conviction-in-Nigerian-courts

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