Pregnant inmate gets legal representation

Date: 20-07-2010 5:57 pm (10 years ago) | Author: Daniel Bosai
- at 20-07-2010 05:57 PM (10 years ago)

The Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD) has stepped into the case of Comfort Monday, who is seven months pregnant and has since January 2010, been incarcerated at the Kirikiri Female Prison by the man she claims impregnated her.

However, the magistrate sitting at the Kirikiri Magistrate Court, Apapa, on Monday, July 19, 2010, failed to show up to hear the case.

Ms. Monday, whose story was first reported in NEXT on Sunday, July 18, 2010, is being arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy to steal and stealing. She came to the court looking pale and sickly. At the court to represent her, Afolabi Orekoya, of the OPD, which gives free legal services to the less privileged, under the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, described her as looking “very stunned and shaken.”

“Her case was brought to the attention of the OPD by a non-governmental organisation. She is being accused of stealing N295,000. But she has said she has nothing to do with the alleged theft. The burden of proof is always on the prosecution. But we at OPD, we will give her a good defence,” Mr. Orekoya said.

How it all began

In 2009, as recounted by Ms. Monday, while in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, her father told her to accompany their landlord’s friend, one Wintua Nadu, to Lagos, to become his domestic help. She followed him, with the hope of going to school. She said she was 16 years old then.

But while living with him at his residence, which doubles as his shop, on Owode Street in Abule Egba, a suburb of Lagos State, she alleged Mr. Nadu, said to be about 50 years old, began sleeping with her and stopped her from going to school. Ms. Monday later became pregnant.

“I came from village and was doing house-girl for him. That is when he started sleeping with me. It has been long. At first, I was going to school but after like a month, I stopped. I was in JSS 2 that time. If I am not doing housework, sometimes I will sell in the shop,” said Ms. Monday.

In late January 2010, Ms. Monday said Mr. Nadu travelled, after instructing her to sell some compressors worth about N95,000 in the shop, and give the money to his gateman; which she said she did, but the said gateman allegedly disappeared with the money.

Journey to prison

Mr. Nadu returned and got police officers from the Oko Oba Police Station to arrest Ms. Monday and a neighbour, identified as Kennedy, for theft. He further claimed that Ms. Monday stole an additional N200,000 from his safe in the house, and accused Kennedy of being responsible for Ms. Monday’s pregnancy.

Mr. Orekoya said further investigations will be carried out on the allegations of Mr. Nadu being the father of the baby; as well as to ascertain Ms. Monday’s age. If indeed Ms. Monday was 16 when she came to Lagos, then she would be 17 in 2010, thus making it illegal for her to be remanded in prison.

“Her claim is he (Mr. Nadu) is the father of the child and we are investigating this. A very unfortunate thing, however, is she’s an illiterate. And also that she has been in prison for this long because she doesn’t have any surety, that is, somebody who can vouch for her to secure her bail,” Mr. Orekoya said.

The case has been adjourned to August 2, 2010.

Posted: at 20-07-2010 05:57 PM (10 years ago) | Hero