UK jails four Nigerian stowaways for a total of seven years
London, Jan. 4, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Four Nigerian stowaways arrested in the UK in 2018 December have been jailed for a total of seven years.
While on the ship, they hurled faeces at elite SBS sailors and vowed to infect them with HIV during a tense stand-off in the Thames Estuary.
The stowaways also threatened to kill crew members with metal poles when they broke free from quarantine on the 78,000-tonne Italian merchant ship on 21 December 2018. They said they would steer it to the UK.
Helicopters with specialist sailors were sent to rescue the Grande Tema’s crew and arrest the men while the ship floated off the Essex coast.
Samuel Jolumi, 27, Ishola Sunday, 28, Toheeb Popoola, 27, and Joberto McGee, 21, were all found guilty of affray after an eight-week trial in the Old Bailey. Popoola and McGee were also found guilty of making threats to kill.
All were cleared of attempting to hijack the ship.
Popoola was jailed for 31 months, while McGee was sentenced to 32 months behind bars. Sunday and Popoola were each jailed for 16 months.
They will serve half of their sentences behind bars, and may be detained for deportation proceedings
The group was found by the captain days after the vessel set sail from Lagos, Nigeria, and placed in quarantine before they mutinied five days later.
Samuel Jolumi, 27, and Ishola Sunday are two of four Nigerians that have been jailed after throwing faeces at sailors and threatening to infect them with HIV after breaking free from quarantine in a merchant vessel off the Essex coast
Toheeb Popoola, 27, and Joberto McGee, 21, were found guilty of affray along with Jolumi and Sunday. Popoola and McGee were also found guilty of making threats to kill
At least one member of the group made ‘throat-slitting’ gestures at the 27-strong crew and McGee mouthed the words: ‘I kill you’.
Faeces was also smeared across the windows of the cabin that the crew had barricaded themselves into.
The grim gestures can be seen in CCTV footage played to the court, while the stowaways can also be seen threatening to break the glass of the cabin and steer the ship to the UK unless the captain did so before 6am.
A second clip also shows Poopola charging at the window of the bridge, while the other three roam the upper decks brandishing litre-bottles of their own urine.
Two of the stowaways were caught by sailors while foraging on the upper deck, while Italian captain Antonio Raggi found the other two hanging over the railings near the ship’s propellers in dangerous waters.
They were welcome with smiles by the crew, offered food and placed into quarantine, but rebelled five days later as the ship approached Britain.
A tense 14-hour stand-off ensued on 21 December 2018 before special forces boarded the ship under cover of darkness and arrested the stowaways.