Justice Ishaq Sani of the Federal High Court (FHC) Port Harcourt, has convicted three out of the nine accused persons who hijacked an Equatorial Guinea flagged vessel, MV ELOBEY VI, off Equatorial Guinea coast on March 21, 2020.
The three who were summarily convicted on Counts 1 and 2 included Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon.
They were ordered to pay a fine of N10 million each on each of the counts.
The three, according to a statement signed by Commodore Suleman Dahun, were convicted under the new Anti-Piracy Act, 2019.
The statement recalled that the Nigerian Navy (NN) had arrested Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar, Ghane Gordon, Hassan Hakeem, Gregory Smith, Ofem Uket, John Mark, Chidi Amadi and Eze Amadi, who were suspected to be members of the kidnapping syndicate that undertook the hijacking incident.
According to the statement, the kidnappers demanded for a $2 million ransom out of which $200,000 ransom was eventually paid.
“After their arrest by the Nigeria Navy, the suspects were arraigned before the FHC, Port Harcourt on July 23, 2020, on a 7 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 application was not granted because the accused persons may not make themselves available to stand trial if granted bail,” the statement explained.
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 6 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.