By Onozure Dania
There was a mild drama yesterday at an Ebute- Metta Magistrates’ Court when a 30-year-old man Okechukwu Ode accused of stealing bags of stockfish valued N3.6million, started weeping in the courtroom just before he was arraigned.
While he was weeping, his co-defendant Chukwudi Ojukwu 25, who sold the stockfish to him, tried to pacify him, but he shoved him away and said that since he was arrested, no one has come to see him.
Meanwhile, the complainant one Mrs Joy Odoh said that Ojukwu, who was working with her before she sacked him in 2019, was stealing from her without her knowledge but that she notices that after-sales the money was usually not complete.
She said that Ojukwu, even went as far as duplicating the keys to her shop and then goes to the shop at 2 am, to steal her stockfish and money.
Odoh added that the security man in the market never suspected him so he didn’t question him.
The defendants Chukwudi Ojukwu and Okechukeu Ode, are facing a three-count charge, bordering on conspiracy, stealing and receiving, preferred against them by the police.
The duo whose addresses was not given was docked before Magistrate Mrs A. O. Kusanu.
The prosecutor Inspector Olatunde Kehinde told the court that the defendants conspired amongst themselves and committed the alleged offences on June 27, 2020.
He said that the incident took place at about 1:30 pm, at Market Street Ebute-Metta.
Kehinde said that Ojukwu stole bags of stockfish valued N3.6million, the property of the complainant Joy Odoh.
The prosecutor also alleged that Okechukwu Ode received bags of stockfish, valued N24,000, which he knew to have been stolen.
According to him, the offence committed is punishable under Sections 411, 287 and 328 of the criminal law of Lagos state 2015.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge against them.
The defendant’s counsel Tunde Idris urged the court to grant his clients bail in liberal terms.
Constantly Magistrate Kusanu, granted the duo bail in the sum of N 200,000 each, with two sureties in like sum.
She said that the sureties must show evidence of tax payment to Lagos state government and have their addresses verified.
The case was adjourned till August 14, for mention.