A member of a seven-man band of suspected pirates, Jude Omashin, 29, may be singing like a canary to detectives at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Lagos, telling all he knows about the sea robbers, who allegedly hijack and rob oil vessels of their contents at sea.
The suspect, according to the Police, was arrested following a tip off by members of the public who noticed his ostentacious lifestyle in his neighbourhood at Iyana Era area of Ijanikin, Lagos, after he allegedly collected a share of N7 million after the gang’s last operation before he was arrested.
The suspect allegedly claimed that the sum was given him by the gang’s leaders, simply identified as Bayo and Stephen, after they sold stolen diesel at a giveaway price of over N100 million.
Omashin was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, on a four-count charge of felony, to wit armed robbery.
The Police alleged in charge No. E/8/2013 that the accused was arrested at his residence, following information received that the accused is suspected to be a member of a seven-man gang, which in June 2012 hijacked a ship conveying diesel to Nigeria from Europe with AK 47 rifles, emptying her contents into their waiting vessel and escaping to sell it.
The accused allegedly confessed, during Police interrogation, to the crime, claiming to be a member of a seven-man sea piracy gang that robbed an oil vessel on the high sea last year in Badagry area of Lagos.
“I was a boat fisherman at Ilaje Waterways in Ondo State, Akure before our leaders, Bayo and Stephen, now at large, introduced me into the sea robbery operation in August 2012. I have only participated in one operation with them, which fetched me the sum of N7 million and as a new comer in the business, I knew my boss cheated me, because I was told they sold the diesel at a giveaway price of over N100 million.
“My duty is to hold all the crew members hostage inside the vessel with AK 47 rifle given to us by Bayo and Stephen, while they would order the sailor to divert the ship to our hideout on the high sea between Badagry and Cotonou, Republic of Benin, and others would stand guard on top of the ship for any eventuality.
“After emptying its contents into our waiting vessel, we would collect all the communication gadgets from all the crew members and escape,” Omashin allegedly stated in the confessional statement to the Police.
He allegedly further stated that, after the operation, everybody would destroy the mobile telephone sim card used during the operation, and Bayo would collect all the guns from the gang members and return to the creeks of the Niger Delta.
The offences, according to the Police Prosecutor, Superintendent C.N. Odii, are punishable under Section 6 (b) 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
While the plea of the accused was not taken, as the court lacks the jurisdiction to try the matter, presiding Magistrate, Mr. Adegun, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody, pending the advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution on the matter.
The matter was adjourned till March 14, 2013, for mention.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.