Wednesday 23 May 2012

The story of an Akwa Ibom orphan Blessing Effiong; incarcerated in prison for buying a stolen N10,000 phone

Blessing Effiong
The story Blessing Effiong, an Akwa Ibom orphan was carried by my fellow blogger, Linda Ikeji some time ago after it was first published by Punch. Below is how Linda narrates it !

Blessing is a 19 year old girl (she will turn 20 in August) who has been incarcerated at the female ward of the Kirikiri Prisons since November 2008. She has been locked up since she was 16.

I've been to Kirikiri prisons. I've seen Blessing. I've hugged her. I've cried with her...and I promised her I will do everything in my power to get her out. I hope to keep that promise..I already have a team I'm working with to make this happen...but we need more people to get involved in her case. (There are some things I can't put out here but we need all the help we can get).

According to Blessing (this is exactly what she told me) on the morning of the 14th of July 2008, she bought a phone from a guy around her area in Ebutte Metta for N800. It was a Starcomms phone worth about N10k which she wanted to use to start phone business. The same evening she bought the phone, she got a call on the phone from some guy who said the phone belonged to him, that he was robbed and dispossessed of it a few days back. Blessing offered to return the phone back to the guy on the condition that she will get her N800 back. The man promised her the money back and she gave him her address. The man showed up a few hours later with police. 

Blessing was first taken to Ilupeju Police station where she was kept for a few days. Then on the 18th of August she was transferred to State CID Panti where she was kept for a while. She was then charged to magistrate court Ikeja, from where the magistrate remanded her in Kirikiri prisons to await advice from the Director of Public Persecution. The advise didn't come until 2012. And his advice was for her to be charged under section 427 of the criminal code. (Crime about receiving stolen property).

Then her story became public after a Punch reporter accompanied the Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Ade Ipaye, and representatives of the Office of the Public Defender on a visit to the prisons to evaluate the number of awaiting trial persons there. 3+ years awaiting trial. Sad, huh?

Well, some of us got involved and she's finally been charged to court for receiving of stolen property before a High Court of Lagos State sitting at Igbosere. Her case came up today 23rd May 2012, but the prison authorities did not bring Blessing to court, so the Judge adjourned to the 14th of June, 2012.

I will be in court that day, anyone else if free to come. It's the Igbosere high court on Lagos Island.

For those who are curious about her family, Blessing is an orphan. Her father died when she was very young and her mother died just last year. She told me her incarceration led to her mum's death. She was her only daughter. Blessing has two brothers but they are in the East and as helpless as she is.

When she's finally released, Blessing will be needing a lot of help. Will keep y'all updated.

Thanks for reading.
Source: Linda Ikeji blog



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