Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Neglect By Society Pushed Me Back to Robbery - Jail Bird

When Joseph Ajayi was arrested for breaking into someone's apartment and making away with cash and valuables, he passion-ately pleaded to be let off the hook and at the same time swore never to indulge in such nefarious act again in his entire life. He was however, charged to court from where he was sent to jail for six months.

Having gained freedom in December 2010, everyone expected that the Okitipupa, Ondo state born would turn a new leaf. But the 29-year-old has proved everyone wrong, by being recalcitrant, as he is again arrested for same offence.

He was caught right inside the apartment of one Kadijat Shuibu in Ginti village, Ijede, Lagos, Monday. Joseph as gathered, gained entrance into the apartment through the ceiling , when owner of the apartment left the house.

Unfortunately, while he was trying to make away with a laptop, Kadijat appeared from nowhere and on sighting him, raised an alarm which alerted other villagers.

In this interview, Joseph blamed his act on an evil force he claimed controlled his emotion and action. Again, like the first time, he pleaded to be let off the hook, promising to return to his home town where he hoped to start farming.

On why he reneged on his earlier promise of turning a new leaf, he said, " Honestly, I intended to drop this habit but one Lekan lured me into it. Lekan is a friend I met while I was remanded at Kirikiri prison. He left a week before I finished serving my six months jail term.

Before leaving, he gave me his telephone number to contact him. And when I regained freedom on December 3, 2010, I called to inform him I was out".

But immediately I came back, the shop I was managing as a carpenter was given to somebody else and when I approached the owner, he told me he would not want to have anything doing with a prisoner. As if that was not enough, I was driven away from the apartment I was living in because my landlord said he would not have anything to do with a thief. It was out of frustration that I went to Lekan to complain. Luckily, he willingly invited me to come and stay with him.

Just last Sunday, he told me to go and steal at Kadijat's apartment since I was good at entering through the ceiling. He told me point blank to collect a lap top because according to him, he sighted one when he went to effect some repair on one of her furniture. He said we would sell the laptop to a ready buyer and share whatever was realized.

Mission unaccomplished

Armed with a bag containing his carpentry tools, Joseph made straight for Kadijat's apartment which he met under lock and key. On how he eventually found himself inside, he explained, " I did not go in through the front door. What I did was to climb the burglary of the window and broke the ceiling with the Iron rod, from where I crept into her apartment.

I had succeeded in collecting the laptop and was about entering the ceiling when she peeped through the window, upon realizing there was someone in her house. At that time, I knew my end had come and also that I was on another journey to jail.

Quickly, I went to hide inside an empty carton with the thought that they would not find me. But they did and started beating me"

Modus Oparandi

Preliminary investigation by policemen in Ijede who were contacted, revealed that Joseph had at other accessions done same thing but had gone away with it. Asked how he usually succeed without the aid of anyone, he revealed, " I usually stormed a house after everyone must have gone to their respective business places.

I would just carry my bag where I have my tools preten-ding to be looking for owner of the house. After ascertaining there is no one around, I would go to the back of the compound where no one would see me and climb through the burglary proof into the ceiling."

An unknown force controls me

At a point, he broke down in tears. This time around, he attributed his indulgence to the handiwork of forces beyond his human control. " Anytime I sit down, a force will just tell me to get up! go and steal! Immediately, I will obey by carrying my bag. It is not until I have accomplished the mission that I would be myself".

Asked how much he had realised so far, he lamented, " how much is the money sef? The first time, which was three years ago, I stole N15,000 from an apartment and used it to feed myself. The second time, I got N5000. At times, after all the wahala of breaking into somebody's house, I would end up not getting money.

The same way I was caught in this is exactly how I was caught the first time. I only stole N15,000 then but owner of the house claimed it was N70,000. Infact, I regret everything. I just want to return back to the village and start farming. Everything is just going wrong with me. First it was my inability to go to secondary school because of the demise of my father", he lamented.

Recovered from the suspect, were a chisel, a saw, hammer and an iron bar suspected to be used for breaking into unauthorized places. Joseph, according to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, who paraded him before newsmen, would be charged to court .

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