Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has granted bail to a 22-year-old woman awaiting trial, who was delivered of a baby girl in Uyo Medium Custodial Centre.
The nursing mother and her younger brother were awaiting trial for allegedly receiving a stolen phone worth N20,000.
The siblings were granted bail unconditionally by Justice Ntong Festus Ntong, who said he was moved by the condition of the nursing mother and the infant, who has also been in prison since she was born on 24th September, 2022, to grant the order.
The counsel to the defendants, Barrister Samson Adula, told the court that her situation was sympathetic, lamenting that “a 40-year-old Police Inspector, caused the arrest and detention of the poor orphans, accusing them and two others of breaking into her shop along Aka Etinan Road near Uyo, in December, 2019, to steal phones and recharge cards.”
The siblings, both senior secondary schools’ dropouts are indigenes of Edem Idim Ibakeshi community in Ini local government area, and were charged for conspiracy to receive stolen property as well as receiving stolen property, forcing them to be consigned in prison since January 2022.
Barrister Adula, who is the state coordinator, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACN), told the court that after the arrest of the accused persons, a Point of Sale (POS) operator, and the other sibling, a sales boy in a bakery, the prosecution abandoned them in prison.
In a ruling, Justice Ntong said “the situation was enough to admit the defendants to bail especially because of the innocent infant girl.”
While adjourning the matter to March 13, he further averred that “the mother of the child who dropped out of school in SS 2 and her younger brother, an SS 3 dropout, were constitutionally presumed innocent.”
However, their joy knew no bounds when the court granted them unconditional bail. They expressed gratitude to the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria and appealed to members of the public to come to their aid by providing them with a source of livelihood “to take care of ourselves, and the newborn baby” whose father, LEADERSHIP Friday gathered, had abandoned during their one-year incarceration.