The Federal High Court in Lagos has refused to grant bail to 10 alleged pirates, who are being tried by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

Justice Ayokunle Faji said he could not grant them bail due to the gravity of the charges against them, which border on a threat to national security.

The defendants are Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi and Bright Agbedeyi.

The judge said the offences carry a life sentence or a fine not less than N50m

They were arraigned on three counts on July 13, but they pleaded not guilty.

They were accused of hijacking a fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, belonging to Haina Fishing Company.

The Attorney General of the Federation had earlier appealed to the Federal High Court in Lagos to deny bail to the 10 suspected pirates.

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The prosecuting counsel for the Federal Government, Laraban Magaji, said the defendants committed the offence in May this year on the international water at Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, thereby violating Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, and were liable to punishment under Section 2 of the same Act.

Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s proceedings, the defendants disowned their confessional statements.

Justice Faji adjourned till August 4 for the continuation of trial-within-trial during which a video of the statement taking process will be watched.

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