Admittedly, making money as a pastry seller in Lagos cannot be easy – there are just so many people in this business. From the big shops like Wilson’s and Nuts About Cakes, to the head traders carrying their plastic buckets, the competition is tough.
But that is still not enough reason to steal money from the Bureau de Change where you work.
This was the case with a Lagos pastry seller and mother of one, Oluwakemi Efunkeye, who conspired with her sister-in-law to steal N3.2 million from her former workplace –Paymaster Bureau de Change at Ojuelegba in Lagos.
Now the pastry seller and her accomplice have been caught and found guilty by a court of law and will spend the next 2 years cooling their buns in an oven hot Lagos prison. The sentence was without the option of a fine.
But the story doesn’t quite end there. In Nigeria, things are never quite as straightforward as they seem. While we will not go into government-bashing-mode, one aspect of this story does bother the mind – the convicts were arraigned on July, 20 2011 on a ten-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing. That is almost 5 years ago!
How does a case of theft carried out by 2 women in a bureau de change take 5 years to conclude? Can the witnesses’ evidence still be considered valid? And if the women have spent time in and out of jail, should the 2 year verdict still hold?
We may need the help of legal experts to fully explain the more intricate aspects of the story. This is because when far larger cases of theft by politicians and civil servants are reported, the cases usually end up with the option of paltry fines or nothing at all.
Certainly, no Nigerian politician or civil servant accused of stealing many more millions than N3.2 million has been sentenced to prison in the last 5 years.
But in the end, a thief is a thief, and the fact that one thief got off lightly is not reason enough to treat gently with another thief.
Sanity must start somewhere and if the bread making bread thieves are the turning point, then the better for Lagos state.
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