A 22-year-old unemployed man, Innocent Ali, has been handed a 12 months jail term by an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday for stealing a woman’s handbag in a church after he stormed the church during service. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Taiwo Akanni, who sentenced the accused without any option of fine, said the punishment “will serve as a deterrent to others.” The accused was arraigned on July 20, 2015 on a one-count charge of stealing. The convict, whose address is unknown, pleaded guilty the day he was arraigned and had since then been in custody.
The accused jail term will include the number of days he had been in custody. The prosecutor, Insp. Clifford Ogu, had told the court that the offence was committed on July 5 at Christ Royal Family International Church, located at 2, Adegbola St., Ikeja. Ogu said the accused stole a woman’s handbag in the church and ran away.
“The accused was sitting beside a woman, one Mrs Ekundayo Oyenuga, in the church, and after the service, the woman left her bag to meet with the pastor, but on her return, the bag had disappeared. “It was the CCTV camera that revealed the accused,’’ Ogu said.
He said that police was able arrest the convict through the account number he gave the complainant to pay in N15, 000 before he would release other document in the bag to her. “The items in the bag are a blackberry phone valued at N45,000, cash of N10,000, a drivers’ license, ATM card, car key, international passport and an Ipad,’’ Ogu said.
He said that “when the accused was arrested, he had already spent the money and sold the mobile phone.’’
The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.