…As Court admits 3 members of banned IMN to N5m bail each on health grounds***
The Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima on Monday confirmed that the Nigerian Navy (NN) rescued 18 crew members onboard a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, from pirates’ attack.
Shettima disclosed this in a statement, adding that the crew members were rescued last Thursday (May 15).
He said that the rescued crew members, comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians, were attacked by pirates off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire.
”I am here to make a brief on the rescue efforts of the Nigerian Navy in a recent pirate attack within the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
”On May 15, a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire.
“The pirates took control of the vessel and directed the vessel toward Nigerian waters.
“The vessel had 18 crew members, comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians,” he said.
Shettima said that the Nigerian Navy was alerted of the attack, adding that it immediately dispatched the NNS NGURU to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply with the orders of the Navy Ship.
“Hence, the NN had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel.
“All ships crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” he said.
The commodore noted that the last five known or documented pirates’ attacks were outside Nigerian waters, which the NN responded in the interest of regional security.
“This is aptly captured in the NN Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy, which covers Nigeria’s outermost maritime area of interest, encompassing the entire West African waters and the GoG.
”This underscores the need for increased regional cooperation in terms of information sharing and further deepening of response capability.
”For instance, this rescue effort was bolstered by additional intel received from the Beninous Navy during the operation,” he said.
The NN also warned criminals within the GoG to desist from their acts.
“The NN has the capability and will power to deal with such perpetrators,” he said, stressing that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, was committed to ensuring maritime security within Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea.
In another development, the FCT High Court on Monday admitted three members of the banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to bail in the sum of N5 million each on health grounds.
Delivering a ruling, Justice Sulaiman Belgore, also ordered Mohammed Mohammed, Imran Ayuba and Mohammed Kamisu to produce two sureties each in like sum.
The three defendants were arrested alongside 60 other IMN members during the July 22, 2019 protest at the Federal Secretariat, located in the Three Arms Zone of Abuja.
Justice Belgore said that he had gone through the medical reports attached to the application and came to the conclusion that the three defendants required medical attention.
“I have carefully perused the medical reports and came to the irresistible conclusion that the applicants require urgent medical and surgical attention,” he held.
He ordered that the sureties must be civil servants working and residing within the court’s jurisdiction.
The judge adjourned the case until May 20 for continuation of trial.
Earlier, the defence counsel, Mr Bala Dakkum prayed the court to admit his clients to bail to enable them seek medical care outside the Kuje custodial centre where they were remanded by the court .
Dakkum told the court that his clients sustained varying degree of injuries during the July 22, 2019 protest.
The protest led to the death of DCP Usman Umar and Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps member serving with Channels Television.
The defendants were first arraigned before the court on Nov. 27, 2019 by the police.
They were arraigned on charges bordering on homicide, disturbances of public peace and destruction of government properties.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
It would be recalled that on July 27th, 2019, a federal high court in Abuja declared the IMN a terrorist organisation.
The Court made the declaration, following an ex parte application filed by the federal government through the office of the attorney-general of the federation.