By Maxwell Adeleye
A bank driver, Suleiman Anthony, who allegedly stole a Toyota Hilux van, has been arraigned by the police before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.
Anthony, 31, reportedly told the police that the van was stolen from him in Lagos by thieves who caused him to fall sleep and awake the next day in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He was arraigned last Thursday before Magistrate A. T. Omoyele on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.
Prosecuting Sergeant Cyriacus Osuji said Anthony and others at large conspired and stole the navy blue van with Registration No. FST 889 BH at about 6:30am on April 4, at GTBank, Lekki branch, Lagos.
Responding to a question from the Magistrate, Osuji said the defendant had been driving the van for some months before making off with it.
He said Anthony was arrested by the Ajah Police Division, Lagos six days later at about 1:20pm.
The offences, Osuji added, contravened Sections 285(10) and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The defendant pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Omoyele granted him N500,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum.
It was gathered that Anthony, of No. 10, Idowu Dada Street, Ogudu, Lagos told the police that he was employed as a driver in 2011 by a transport escort services firm, Ademakinwa Ademiluyi and Co.
The firm then hired the Nasarawa State indigene out to GTBank, Ajah branch in 2012.
Our correspondent learnt that Anthony said around 6am on April 4, he drove the van on the Lekki-Ajah Expressway on his way to GTBank Ajah branch, but stopped along the Marwa alternative route to buy cigarettes and local gin.
According to a police source, “He said he didn’t realise that the men seated around him at the kiosk were robbers and that when he walked back to the vehicle, four of them were waiting for him there.
“They pointed a gun at him and told him to get in the back seat. They then drove off towards Ajah-Epe Road. When they switched on the air-conditioning, he said he began to feel drowsy and slept off to wake up near a bush path the next morning.”
Anthony reportedly said the men took his phone and wallet, so he began walking for about 45 minutes until he met soldiers at a check point.
After he explained what happened, they told him he was in Port Harcourt.
He said he got lifts from different motorists until he got to Benin from where a representative of his transport firm arrived and brought him back to Lagos.