A High Court in the Nigerian capital Abuja has sentenced a 23 year old Tope Abiodun to death by hanging for stealing an android LG phone valued at N87,000.00.
The court also sentenced a teenager, Godfrey Emmanuel to 14 years imprisonment for the same offence.
Another suspect, a trader at Wuse Market, also in the Nigerian capital Abuja, who was identified as Samuel Egbe, 24, was lucky as he was discharged and acquited.
Egbe was charged for dishonestly receiving the LG phone from the 2nd accused (Tope Abiodun) with knowledge that the said phone were stolen.
The court was amazed by the ingenuity deployed by the convicts in carrying out the Robbery attack on the owner of the LG phone, Jacob Habila, whom they attacked with a knife before disposing him of his handset.
According to the prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, the convicts had on October 3, 2013, at about 9:21pm, positioned themselves half naked, at Impresist junction Karmo, Abuja, and upon sighting the victim with his LG android phone, approached him to allow them make a distress call to their brother.
They told him that they were victims of a robbery attacked and would need his assistance to call their brother to bring some clothes for them to put on.
The unsuspecting Habila was touched by their story and in the process of dialling a number that was given to him, the 2nd convict (Godfrey Emmanuel), brought out a knife and stabbed him on the head, while Tope Abiodun escaped with the phone.
With blood dripping from his face, the victim raised the alarm with the shouts of “thief’ “thief” which led to the arrest of Emmanuel while trying to escape from the scene.
The matter was swiftly reported at the police and Abiodun was arrested few days later.
They were slammed with a three counts charge by the Commissioner of Police as follows; that you Godfrey Emmanuel ‘m’ 13 years and Tope Abiodun ‘m’ 19 years, all of Dape Village Karmo, Abuja, on or about October 3, 2013, at about 2110 hrs at Impresit junction Karmo, Abuja within the Abuja judicial division conspired to commit felony to wit: Armed Robbery and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms Special Provisions Act, Cap R11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
That you Godfrey Emmanuel ‘m’ 13 years and Tope Abiodun ‘m’ 19 years, all of Dape Village Karmo, Abuja, on or about October 3, 2013, at about 2110 hrs at Impresit junction Karmo, Abuja within the Abuja judicial division, while armed with a knife and other offensive weapons robbed one Jacob Habila of an Android LG phone valued N87,000.00, and you Godfrey Emmanuel was arrested at the scene while trying to escape, while you Tope Abiodun escaped with the robbed LG phone and was arrested few days later. You thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(2) of the Robbery and Firearms Special Provisions Act, Cap R11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
While the 1st convict (Emmanuel) is a primary three drop out from Cross Rivers State who cannot write and speak good English, his partner in crime Abiodun, attended primary six.
During the course of trial, the suspects pleaded not guilty to all the charges whole the prosecution called five witnesses to prove his case against them, including Sgt. Celestine Nyigba, an Investigation Police Officer at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who testified as first Prosecution Witness (PWI).
The convicts were represented by their counsel, Nnamdi Nwiwu who made frantic but failed legal efforts to get them off the hook.
He however succeeded in saving the teenage robber (Godfrey Emmanuel) from the hangman noose by pleading with the court after he was found guilty of the offences, to consider the provisions of the Child Rights Act, particularly section 221 and section 405 of the Administrative if Criminal Justice Act and reduce his sentence to 14 years.
After evaluating the submissions of counsel including exhibits and documentary evidence before her, Justice Chizoba Orji found the 1st and 2nd accused persons guilty as charged.
She held that from the totality if evidence before her, the prosecution has successfully established the case of armed robbery against the 1st and 2nd accused person.
“Exhibits B5, B6 and B7 are direct written evidence of the defendants including the blood stained clothe of the victim.