‘Don’t let me give birth in prison’ – Pregnant woman pleads with court

by Zara Mustapha

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A heavily pregnant woman broke down and wept while kneeling down at the Ikeja Senior Magistrates’ Court, Abule Egba, Lagos, pleading with the judge not to send her to prison because she was about to deliver.

The young woman, Fasilat Yusuf was standing trial in court for her failure to repay a N70,000 loan she took from her neighbor, Sunday Shobowale, in February 2013.

Shobowale and Yusuf are both residents of Dele Faniran street, Oko Oba Agege, Lagos. The accused failed to pay back the loan as agreed.

Therefore she was arrested and charged to court in September 2013 when the matter was taken to the police.

PM News reports:

The Police Prosecutor docked her on a two-count charge of obtaining loan without paying and stealing the N70,000 belonging to Sunday, an offence punishable under section 285 of the criminal law of Lagos State, 2011.

When the matter was mentioned, her counsel Mr. Akinbiyi pleaded that Fasilat was processing another loan to repay the debt but the company wanted her to put to bed and start work before the loan could be approved for her.

But the chief magistrate responded that the court had been lenient enough with the defendant who had been on trial since last year and was yet to repay one kobo of the loan. If she failed to make any repayment, Elias threatened to send her to Kirikiri Prisons, Apapa on remand until she was able to do so.

She added that the man who impregnated her was in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State in southeast Nigeria from where he sent her only N5,000 a month for feeding and maintenance.

Fortunately for her, before the court rose, the defendant’s mother appeared in the court room. Together with the counsel they prevailed on Elias who later reversed his earlier remand order. But not until the defence counsel had written an undertaking that Fasilat will pay a substantial amount in the next few days.

The case was adjourned till 30 June, 2014 for further resolution of the issue.

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