The police in Lagos have arrested a 40-year-old car painter, Sunday Arowolo, for allegedly “stealing” a Toyota Matrix of one Mrs. Anueylagu Ifeyinwa, a teacher.
Punch Metro learnt that Ifeyinwa had in July 2014 given the car to Arowolo, who lives in Omo-Oba Estate, Ori-Okuta, Ikorodu, to help her sell it for N2.5m.
The police said one Vallentine, who is still at large, had acted as an intermediary between Ifeyinwa and the suspect.
The woman was said to have demanded that Arowolo return the car when he was unable to get a buyer for it on time, but he reportedly declined, saying he had already sold it to someone on credit.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Ifeyinwa eventually reported the matter at the Owutu Police Station in September 2015, when her efforts to get either the money or the car from Arowolo proved abortive.
Our correspondent gathered that he paid the woman N1.5m afterwards, while the case was later transferred to Zone 2 police headquarters, Onikan, in December.
The Osun State indigene, in his statement to the police, said he had used the car in exchange of a plot of land in the Ibeju-Lekki area of the state. He added that he was supposed to give the woman N2.3m for the car, out of which he had already paid N1.5m.
He said, “It was Valentine, who introduced me to Mrs. Ifeyinwa as a car dealer. She gave me her Toyota Matrix, valued at N2.5m, to help her sell it. I placed the vehicle for sale, but I did not get a buyer. In January 2015, I called the woman that she should let me use the car in exchange for a parcel of land, but she refused.
“Someone later priced it for N1.9m but the person did not come back. I then used the car to collect a plot of land at Ibeju-Lekki. I had paid her N1.5m with a promise to pay her a balance of N800,000 in January, 2016.”
Arowolo was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court by a police prosecutor, Inspector Stephen Moloh, on three counts of stealing.
The charges read in part, “That you, Sunday Arowolo, and others still at large, on July 7, 2014, at about 10am, on Ayo Ajileye Street, Ori-Okuta, Ikorodu, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
“That you, and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district, did steal one Toyota Matrix valued at N2.5m, property of Mrs. Anueyiagu Ifeyinwa, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 285 (10) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty and was granted bail by the magistrate, Mr. Martins Owumi, in the sum of N300,000 with two sureties in like sum.
The case was adjourned till January 19, 2016.