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article imageNigeria to hang a man for stealing car radio

By Yukio Strachan     Jan 28, 2012 in World
A Nigerian High court on Friday sentenced a car mechanic to death by hanging for stealing a car stereo back in June 2002.
"This is an offense of armed robbery for which I have no discretion. The penalty is death and I am not in a position not to impose it," said presiding Justice Fred of Oleh High Court in Delta State. "To this end, the accused person is sentenced to death by hanging in the neck until he is dead."
Prosecutors say the accused, Patrick Ekeh, along with two others, robbed a car stereo from Johnson Unuerho on June, 29th 2002, while armed, at Okpara Inland within Isiokolo judicial division, Vanguard Media reported.
Unuerho, a University Lecturer with the College of Education Warri, told the court that "he tip-toed to the window, opened the blind gently and saw the 1st accused person, Patrick Ekeh and another member of the gang now deceased before shouting for help."
No other information is given about the now deceased gang member or circumstances of his death.
The other accomplice, Gabriel Iyerowho, a driver, was discharged and acquitted.
About Iyerowho's acquittal Justice Fred explains, “I uphold defense of alibi of the 2nd accused persons. It ought to have been investigated by the police but was not. And besides, he was not one of those sighted by [Unuerho] when he took a peep through the window of his house and so no evidence fixing him at the scene and sufficient to dislodge the alibi raised by him."
How is it armed robbery when the victim peeped "through the window of his house" and is thus separated from the gun?
According to Nigerian law, under the Robbery and Firearms (special Provision) Degree 1984,armed robbery falls under two categories, both punishable by death:
1. If the offender is armed with any fire arms or any offensive weapon or is in company with a person so armed;
2. If the offender wounds or uses any weapon on any person at, immediately before or immediately after the robbery.
Those outraged with this verdict have already taken to Twitter with the #StopThisInjustice to make their voices heard.
"I don't care what their obsolete penal code says," tweeted Nedu. "That judgement is repugnant to good conscience!"
Online Nigeria News puts it this way: "When our politicians and so called leaders are stealing millions and chopping our subsidy money, a motor mechanic has been sentenced to death by hanging for armed robbery."
More about Nigeria, High court, Gun, Armed robbery, Stereo
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