A young man has been sentenced to death by hanging for stealing a smartphone.
Tope Abiodun, 23, has been in a Nigerian prison for four years after stealing an Android LG smartphone valued at 87,000 NGN (£256).
He claims he was planning to sell it to buy food for his younger siblings, according to an activist who is highlighting the case.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sentenced Mr Abiodun to death by hanging.
Justice campaigner Don Capello wrote of the case: ‘Justice Chizoba Orji of Apo high court FCT Abuja jailed 23 yrs old Tope Abiodun (from Kabba Kogi state) to death by hanging for stealing an Android LG phone valued at 87,000 naira.
‘This happened few weeks ago in a country where those that looted billions that were meant to make life easy for such youths from being tempted to survive through stealing, are out there roaming the streets in freedom.
Mr Capello said: ‘This is unfair to the poor and vulnerable masses. Tope fluently speaks Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages.
‘He has transformed since he was imprisoned four years ago, this is a lad that will assist visitors with their luggage down to cells of those they came to visit in Kuje prison.
‘He is a good boy we cannot allow to die. I am appealing to well-meaning Nigerians, clergies alike to come to his aid. He has an ageing mother, he was not born to see his father alive. One can easily understand his upbringing.’
|Justice campaigner Don Capello shared a Facebook post of Tope highlighting the case.|
The campaigner explained in a Facebook post: ‘Tope Abiodun committed this crime when he was 18-years-old, he told me the pressure to feed his younger siblings pushed him to do it.
‘Probably he did that as an ignorant young boy out of the normal juvenile delinquency stage in our lives.’
In the post, Mr Capello revealed that he had helped the youth process his case through the appeal court.
He added: ‘I am so sad about this because I have spent much to help this boy even though I have my issues.
‘At the end the judge gave him a very harsh sentence (death by hanging).’
It was not clear whether an execution date had been set.
There was no comment from Nigerian legal authorities on the case.
The death penalty in Nigeria can legally be enacted by hanging, shooting or stoning.
Offences that can carry the death penalty include same-sex marriage, treason and mutiny.
Rape, murder, terrorism, kidnapping and robbery are also punishable by death.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4367986/Thief-sentenced-death-stealing-phone-Nigeria.html#ixzz4cvvELiph