Eight Nigerians alleged to be pirates have been deported by the Ghanaian authorities upon the directive of the country’s Minister of the Interior.
The suspects were handed over to Nigerian authorities by a team of officials represented by the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Immigration Service under the leadership of DSP Peter Kamasa of the Interpol, Accra, to officials of the National Criminal Bureau/Lagos (Interpol/Lagos) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos, on January 7, 2016 after an exhaustive legal process in Accra.
The suspects were identified as Molih William, Molilh, Klinsman, David Jacob, Amos Ebiyaibo, Aki Peggy, John Picolo, Ayetimili Oyinle and Pinano Saniyu.
The suspects had earlier made appearances before an Accra Magistrate Court 3, Adjabeng.
The arrest of the suspected pirates followed a complaint lodged by the Nigerian owner of a vessel, Sunday Nakase who said the men had stolen the vessel, MT Mariam, together with its crude oil contents and directed the crew to steer to an undisclosed destination.
They were arrested by personnel of the Ghana Navy and handed over to the police.
A search revealed three AK 47s, IG3 rifle, a pump-action gun and 256 rounds of ammunition. Other items found on board the vessel were tablets, monies, walkie-talkies, speed boats and two Yamaha outboard motors.
According to Police Commissioner David Asante-Apeatu, the owner of MT Marinin, after lodging the complaint and the arrest of the crew, officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, BNI, National Security and others met periodically to assess progress on the investigation and the next action.
It was decided that allowing the Nigerian authorities to undertake further investigation and prosecution would serve a better purpose, more so since the vessel was arrested beyond 25 nautical miles off Ghanaian waters.
“We want to say that maritime crime takes in vast areas on the sea, a situation making it challenging to prevent,” he said adding that vessels are sometimes flagged by one country and operated by different trans-sectoral and international bodies.
Asante-Apeatu said the successes chalked so far in the matter were attributable to the inter-security services cooperation, which he said went on until the Ghanaian Attorney-General’s advice that the pirates be deported to their country of origin.
The Minister’s deportation order was derived from Act 573 Section 36 of the Laws of Ghana.
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