A Jos Upper Area Court on Wednesday sentenced three men to 12 months imprisonment each for vandalising NITEL cables worth N3million. The trio, Yakubu Magaji, 35, Ernest Sylvester, 30 and Elom Ifeanyi, 26 were convicted on a two-count charge of conspiracy and vandalism. The Trial Judge, Malam Mustapha Hassan, however, gave the convicts an option of N7,000 fine each.
While delivering the judgment, Hassan said that the prosecutor had convinced the court beyond reasonable doubt that the convicts committed the offence.
"The evidences provided by the prosecution against the accused persons also assisted the court to convict them. "The court also relied heavily on the confessional statements made by the accused persons to convict them," he declared.
He said that the court had invoked Section 157 (1) of the Criminal Code Procedure that stipulated quick judgment for anybody that pleaded guilty to his or her offence, to convict the accused. Earlier, the Prosecutor, Mr Gokwat Ibrahim, had told the court that the accused persons had, on Dec 17, 2012, at about 1:30 a.m, vandalised NITEL cables in Jos township.
Ibrahim further told the court that the accused were arrested by soldiers attached to the Special Task Force (STF), while committing the offence around Post Office area of Jos. "When the accused were arrested by the soldiers and a search was conducted on them, the cables, hacksaw and pliers were found in their possession.
"When interrogated by the soldiers, they failed to give satisfactory explanation of how they came about the cables that belonged to NITEL," he said. The prosecutor said that the accused had, therefore, committed an offence contrary to Sections 97 (1) and 95 of the Penal Code.
Ibrahim tendered the cables, hacksaw and pliers as exhibits before the court. When the charges were read to the accused, they all pleaded guilty and begged the court for leniency, saying that they were first offenders.
The judge warned them to be of good character after their jail terms, saying that the court would not be lenient to them in future if they appeared before it over a similar offence. (NAN)