An Ebonyi state Magistrates’ Court sitting in Abakaliki on Thursday, July 16, handed a 12 months’ jail sentence without an option of fine to one Emmanuel Nwonu, said to be the son of a visually-impaired man.
The convict was accused of stealing N45,465 belonging to St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki. The sum of N41,465 was recovered from Nwonu who was also accused of stealing an undisclosed amount of money and a phone from a woman in the Udunukwe area of Abakaliki.
The charges against the convict who was arraigned on two counts of burglary and stealing on Thursday July 16, read;
“That you, Emmanuel Nwonu, July 11, 2020, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki, in the Abakaliki Magisterial District, did enter a building used for religious worship and stole the sum of N45,465 belonging to St. Patrick Catholic Church, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 415 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you, Emmanuel Nwonu, on the same date and place and in the same aforesaid magisterial district, did wilfully and unlawfully damaged one offering box and it’s padlock valued at N15,000, property of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.”
Nwonu pleaded guilty to charges and also blamed his actions on his poor condition. He said;
“I am really suffering taking care of my visually impaired father; it has not been that easy for me. Currently, I have no place of my own to stay. I sleep under the Spera-In-Deo flyover every night. I am a driver and I lost my job, and since then, I have not found any other job to do.”
Magistrate A. C. Nwusulor who presided over the case, said he decided sentence Nwonu to 12 months imprisonment instead of 7 years so he can think and repent. It was further gathered that prior to his recent sentencing, the convict was apprehended twice for stealing in 2017.