A 45-year-old woman, Salamatu Mohammed, was on Tuesday arraigned by the police in a Karu Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, for allegedly using a baby to dupe people and steal from their homes. The defendant, of no fixed address, was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on trespass, attempt to steal, mischief, housebreaking, theft and belonging to a gang of thieves.
She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against her. Earlier, the prosecutor, Vincent Osuji, had told the court that the matter was reported by two persons at the Karu Police Station, Abuja on March 1. He named the complainants as Akande Taofeek of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Chimeze Nnabugwu all of Karu, Abuja. According to him, the accused committed the offences on the same date at the complainants’ residences. According to the prosecutor, the defendant criminally trespassed into Taofeek’s apartment through the back door and stole some items, before she was arrested.
He said that the defendant also went to Nnabugwu’s house under false pretext of looking for him and in the process, stole a Tecno phone belonging to his son. Osuji said the defendant was in the habit of using her one-year-old baby as a ploy to steal from people’s houses.
He added that the defendant trespasses into houses where only children were left. “She pretends to console her crying baby and sends the occupants’ children on errands either to get biscuit or something edible for her baby and quickly steals their property and disappears,” Osuji said.
The prosecutor alleged that during police investigation, the defendant was discovered to belong to a gang of thieves. He said that the offences contravened Sections 348, 95, 327,353,306,308 and 287 of the Penal Code. The Judge, Hassan Ishaq, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100, 000 with one surety in like sum and adjourned the case until April 11, for further hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the case was first mentioned on March 12 when the defendant was denied bail and remanded in prison. (NAN)