Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, will on July 28, decide whether or not to grant bail to 10 alleged sea pirates, who allegedly hijacked a fishing vessel, named FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.
The judge fixed the date after counsel to the federal government opposed separate bail applications brought by the defendants.
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 Faji on three count charge.
The government had 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, a fishing vessel belonging to Haina Fishery Company, by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.”
The prosecuting Counsel, Laraban Magaji, said the defendants committed the offence in May this year on the international water at Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
Laraban further noted that the defendants violated Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019 and were liable to punishment under Section 2 of the same Act.
They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, the defendants through their counsels, Omoniyi Aruwayo, Monday Mawah and Joe Nwokedi urged the court to grant their clients bail on liberal terms
The defence team argued that since the prosecution had already called three out of its four listed witnesses, there was no risk that the defendants would compromise the prosecution’s evidence or witnesses if released on bail.
They further asked the judge to consider that the defendants spent about one month in the custody of the Nigerian Navy before they were charged and arraigned in court.