6 charged with theft of N28m musical instruments from church



The police on Wednesday brought six men before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State for allegedly breaking into a church and stealing musical instruments worth N28 million.

The defendants are Kelechi Israel, 39; James Abichele, 28; Simon Abi, 25; Ifeanyi Mba, 40; John Odiong, 39; and Austin Bassey, 47.

They are facing a four-count charge of conspiracy, breaking into place of worship to commit crime,  stealing from a locked room and unlawful interference with property.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The prosecutor, ASP Rita Momah, alleged that the defendants committed the offences at 11.50p.m. on June 6, at Redeemed Evangelical Mission Church, Gbagada, Lagos.

According to Momah, the defendants damaged three German iron doors worth N1.5 million while breaking into the church to steal the instruments.

She said that the defendants stole all the musical instruments in the church and transported  them away in a truck at night.

Momah submitted that some of the instruments had been recovered.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 411, 311, 340 and 287 (5) {f} of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (revised).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sections 287 (5) {f} and 311 stipulate seven-year jail term each for breaking into place of worship and committing felony, and stealing from a locked room.

NAN also reports that Section 340 provides for  three years’ imprisonment for unlawful interference with property, while conspiracy attracts a two-year jail term under Section 411 of the law.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Adeola Adedayo, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of six million Naira each with two  sureties in like sum.

She held that the sureties must submit  their National Identification Numbers and their Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) cards.

She directed that all sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction, be gainfully employed  and provide evidence of three years’ tax payment to Lagos State Government.

Adedayo adjourned the case until Aug. 2 for mention. (NAN)