A man, Ismaila Bababgida, 37, from Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State, has been convicted and sentenced to three (3) months imprisonment with hard labour for stolen a Toyota Camry car belonging to a Journalist in the state.
It would be recalled that a Toyota Camry (Envelope) car with registration number ABUJA BWR-633 NU, belonging to a Senior Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Stephen Adeleye, was stolen at Old Living Faith junction, Lokongoma Lokoja, on February 18, 2021.
The car was recovered the following day on February 19, 2021, at a car wash in Lambata Area of Niger State, by the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Inspector General of Police (IGP), Abuja.
A suspect, Ismaila Babangida, was later arrested who confessed to have stolen the car on the said date, in Lokoja where it was parked, in collaboration with two other accomplices.
It should be worthy of note that the location and recovery of the car, was made possible by a Car Tracker Company, GLOBAL CRUISE TECHNOLOGY LTD in collaboration with Police IRT, IGP, Abuja.
According to the IPO in charge of the case, Inspector Cletus Atuma, the suspect (Babangida) was later detained in Police IRT facility to enable the police conduct thorough investigation on the case.
Atuma noted that three more suspects were later arrested and three more cars recovered as a result of the thorough investigation conducted by the police team.
At the conclusion of their investigation, the police arraigned the suspect (Babangida) at Magistrate Court 13B, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Thursday, where the Prosecutor, Barr. Oyeyemi, read the charges to him, and Babangida pleaded guilty to all the charges.
The Magistrate, Hon Justice Oluwakemi Ariwoola, had earlier asked Babangida to choose his preferred language through which he would like the charges to be read to him, but Babangida responded that though he understood Ebira, Hausa and English, the charges should be read to him in English language.
The prosecutor therefore read the charges to Babangida in English language, where he pleaded guilty to all the charges again the second time.
The trial judge thereafter demanded that the charges be read to the Accused the third time and he (Babangida) again pleaded guilty to all the charges the third time.
Before delivering her judgement, the trial judge asked Babangida why he stole the car, and he simply responded that it was because of poverty and hunger, saying he stole the car to sell to raise money to feed and sustain himself and his family.
Babangida, thereafter pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy, admitting that he (Babangida) truly committed the offence and had learnt his lesson in a hardway.
Babangida was thereafter convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour without option of fine.
Speaking to newsmen, shortly after the judgment, the Plaintiff, a Journalist, Stephen Adeleye, whose car was stolen, commended the Police IRT for a great job, and the professional manner in which they handled the case from beginning to the end.
The Journalist, however, expressed his displeasure over the short jail term of three months given to the convicted criminal, saying it does not equate the gravity of the offence he committed.
”Honestly, I am not happy with the three months jail term that the Magistrate gave to the accused, I was expecting him to be sentenced to 3 to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour and without option of fine.
”But, now that the judge in her wisdom has sentenced him to just 3 months imprisonment, I hope the convict would learn his lesson and stop stealing after serving his jail term.
”Above all, I thank God Almighty for helping me to recover my car. I also appreciate my blood brothers, friends, and the entire Kogi NUJ members for standing by me during the trying period. God bless them all.
”My sincere appreciation also goes to the police IRT squad led by ASP Yemi, Inspector Atuma and other gallant officers, that recovered my car in Lambata in Niger State; the Nigerian Journalists are proud of you”, Adeleye said.
The veteran Journalist further praised the tracker company, Global Cruise Technology Limited, for rendering quality service by providing technological solutions to the issue of car theft in Nigeria.