be thief
no be thief
be rogue
no be rogue
dey steal
no dey steal
be armed robber
no be armed robber
      Fela Kuti (Authority Stealing) 
The above are the
lyrics from one of Fela Kuti’s songs, in the bridge, he is heard to be arguing
with another while accusing the person of being a thief, an accusation the
other party denies profusely. Thus, in the spirit of Fela’s song, are you a
Don’t bother
answering the question, it’s not like you would confess to being one right here
on this public domain. At the same time, you may not be a thief but you may
know someone suffering from Kleptomania. I suggest you share the contents of
this blog post which such people.

Some of my youngest
experiences of seeing thieves were at a time when mob justice was really
popular. We had be indoors and suddenly hear shouts of “thief, thief, thief”,
usually with one person being chased by a crowd wielding objects to aid in
making the life of the alleged thief a living hell. I remember watching
suspected thieves being beating and burnt alive over theft of something as
little as food items. This used to be the lot of petty criminals, very sad I
must say. I don’t see anyone beating and burning the politician accused of
stealing government funds and endangering the lives of Nigerians but that’s a
topic for another day and I do not in any way support or promote mob justice,
it is a crime in itself and many innocent people have been punished by angry
crowds for crimes they knew nothing of, an example is the case of the ALUU 4.
For those that are
however found guilty by a court of law, theirs is a special case as the law
provides a penalty for anyone convicted of stealing.  According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th
Edition, to steal means to illegally take personal property with intent to keep
it unlawfully. In a nutshell, unlawfully taking something that doesn’t belong
to you is stealing and the Criminal
Code, Chapter C38, LFN 2004
provides a penalty for stealing.
It provides in Section 390 that “any person, who
steals anything capable of being stolen, is guilty of a felony and is liable,
if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years.” 
I guess the above
is quite explanatory. So I will leave you with the chorus from the earlier
stated fela’s song;
am, catch am
thief, thief
am, catch am,
rogue, rogue,
am, catch am
am, catch am
the way, stealing with violence is armed robbery, especially when a fire arm is
involved and anyone found guilty of armed robbery shall upon conviction be
sentenced to death. Section 402,Criminal Code Act
Adedunmade Onibokun
Photo credits – 


Credits –

It is morally wrong to steal, whether its a million dollars
or just a few Naira notes. At least from the way I was raised, that is and the
Nigerian Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, LFN 2004 confirms same. Recently, I read
about a robbery syndicate who specialised in stealing cars and selling them off,
the members had been apprehended by the police and the person who disposed of
the cars for them was also arrested and prosecuted.  
It is a crime to receive stolen or fraudulently obtained
property and such person may be found to be as guilty as the person who stole
the property in the first place. Thus, if a friend of yours steals or
fraudulently obtains a property and hands same over to you for safe keeping or
disposal, you will be liable and found guilty for being in possession of the
said item.

The law that supports the aforementioned position can be
found in Chapter C38, Sections 427 of the Criminal Code Act. It provides that –
Any person who receives anything which has been obtained by means of an act
that constitutes a felony or misdemeanour, knowing same to be so obtained, is
guilty of a felony. It does not matter if the act was done outside Nigeria, all
that matters is that it would have been a crime if done in Nigeria and also a
crime under the laws of the place where the act was committed. 

Credits –

If the offence by which the thing obtained is a felony, the
offender is liable to imprisonment for 14 years, if the thing so obtained was a
postal matter, chattel, money or valuable security, the offender will be liable
to imprisonment for life. In other cases, such offender is liable to
imprisonment for seven years. 
Note that in order to prove that receiving of anything under
these circumstances stated above, it is sufficient to show that the accused
person has either alone or jointly with some other persons, had the thing in
his possession, or aid in concealing it or disposing of it. 
From the above, you must have learnt that not only is stealing
a crime but also that receiving stolen property is seriously frowned upon and
anyone found guilty of same may be liable to as much as life imprisonment. 
Adedunmade Onibokun Esq


is a crime, we all know that right?
If you
don’t, why do you think your parents beat the living day light out of admonished
you when you were caught stealing meat from the pot taking what didn’t belong
to you. Remember those gentlemen and women always paraded by the police as
armed robbers, with guns, live ammunitions and cartridges lying in front of
them, everyone who has seen a Nigerian edition of Crime Fighters will know what
I mean, well that’s another sign for you that stealing is a crime.

is a moral wrong that’s why all religions and societies frown against it. Stealing,
burglary and armed robbery are all crimes in many legal jurisdictions around
the world including Nigeria and Lagos State has its fair share of laws and punishments
for anyone caught stealing.
to Section 294 and 295 of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2011, any
person who steals anything and uses or threatens to use actual violence to retain
the thing stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to its being stolen or
retained, is said to be guilty of robbery. And anyone who commits the offence
of robbery shall on conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than
twenty-one years, Shikena. When the person is particularly armed with
firearms or offensive weapons or any obnoxious and chemical materials, such
offender shall be sentenced to death.  
You must
now see reasons why if you have chosen a career in armed robbery, you must
begin to have a rethink. Section 296 says just merely having an intention to
steal and assaulting someone in the process or just threatening to use force
while stealing is a felony and such offender is liable to imprisonment for not
less than fourteen (14) years but not more than twenty (20) years. That means
such person still goes to jail for up to 20 yrs even if the robbery was not successful.
If the robber wounds anyone or uses violence on anyone kperen, that’s
even life imprisonment.  Oboy, na to
face my law practice o, it’s not like mama & papa raised a thief anyway, *shrugs

Also any
person found in any public place in possession of any firearms whether real or
imitation and in circumstances reasonably indicating that the possession of the
firearms is with intent to the immediate or eventual commission by that person
or any other person of any of the offences in Sections 294 – 296 of the Law is
guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for not less than fourteen (14)
years but not more than twenty (20) years. Of course, you must know this doesn’t
include kids with toy guns, lol.
even think one can escape punishment solely because the person was not at the
venue of the crime because according to Section 297, any person who conspires
with another to commit any of offences stated above whether or not he is
present when the offence is committed or attempted to be committed, shall be
deemed to be guilty of the
as a principal offender and shall be punished accordingly. Gbam, so like
people say, for hearing la san
, So for planning, the person sef go chop
gets punished.
 “Firearms” includes any cannon, gun,
flint-lock gun, revolver, pistol, explosive or ammunition or other firearm,
whether whole or in detached pieces.
 “Offensive weapon” means any article apart
from a firearm made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person or
intended by the person having it for such use by him or by some other person
and it includes an air gun, air pistol, bow and arrow, spear, cutlass, machete,
dagger, cudgel, or any piece of wood, metal, glass or stone capable of being
used as an offensive weapon.
to buga person sef to rob am na 3 years
. Also by virtue of Section 299, any person who,
with intent to steal anything, demands it with threats of any injury or
detriment of any kind to be caused to him, if the demand is not complied with,
is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three (3) years.

Now you know say thief work no easy, the risk wey
dey there plenty pass the risk wey Antelope dey face if e jam lion for bush
. Armed
robbery is a very grave and serious crime as seen from the above provisions of
the law, though the above laws are laws of Lagos State, all other states also
have their anti – stealing/robbery laws. It is wise to also note that there has
been gossip & rumours unofficial and unverified reports that the
Police have beef for armed robbers and always shoot them upon arrest, but no
be for my mouth you go hear say teacher mama die
like I said they are unofficial,
unverified and anonymous reports.
Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq