By Izunna Okafor, Awka
It was dramatic in Anambra, as a childless mother of two children, on Wednesday morning, held a nineteen-year-old robbery suspect for stealing the sum of two thousand naira (₦2,000) she said she hid under her breast while she and her children were asleep last night.
The incident, which happened at Abakaliki Street in Awka, Anambra State capital, did not only create a scene, but hooked the attention of the passersby, such that many people stopped to know what the problem was.
Narrating her ordeal, the woman, who said she is homeless, explained that people usually gift money to her and her children along the street, especially at the front of the ever-bubbling Big Ballers Restaurant where she usually stays with them.
The woman who simply identified herself as Mrs. Ifechukwu, however, said that the nineteen-year-old suspect, Chigozie Ezeani and his clique of two other boys usually track her to where she usually sleeps at night at a nearby carwash with her children; and rob her of both her money and other valuable things people gifted her and her children, no matter where and how she hides it.
“This last night, they came again to where we were sleeping, slipped their hands into my breast and stole the ₦2,000 a man gave us for food,” she said (in Igbo language).
Although she said she and her children were deep asleep when the robbery was going on on her body, due to heavy rain that badgered last night; she explained that she immediately woke up when she noticed a strange and rough hand caressing her breasts, and she quickly woke up, grabbed the hand and identified the boy, who also strugglingly rescued his himself and fled with his accomplices.
She said she thought the boys only came to romance or rape her under the cool weather, without knowing they also stole the money she hid in her brassiere that night.
“I thought they only came to romance or rape me; it was after they left that I noticed they also stole the money I put in my bra,” she said.
Mrs Ifechukwu, who said she hails from Ihiala, but left the town and migrated to Awka few months ago with her children in search of greener pastures due to family problem; went further to recount the numerous things she and her children had suffered in the hands of the boys, who, she also noted, are jobless street beggers and petty thieves.
While noting that she occasionally gives the boys money, ranging from ₦1,000 and above to buy food or noodles and cook for themselves whenever she notices they are hungry and have do not have any money on them, while she herself has enough; she regretted that the boys still pay her back that way.
“Few days ago, a man gave me the sum of ₦15,000 support to rent a house or get a basha somewhere, so that my children and I will not be be sleeping in the street anymore, due to the numerous dangers associated with it,” she narrated.
“Could you believe that these boys came to where I was sleeping at night and stole that money? Not only that; they had previously stolen two MPs (Music Players) and different amounts of money from me before that.
“Two days ago, they stole ₦8,000 from me; three days ago, they stole ₦4,000, and so on. I had two phones before, which people gave me; but now, I don’t have even one, because these boys have stolen them all.
“There was even a day they came to where I was sleeping in an uncompleted building sometime last two weeks and told me to allow them to have sex with me for ₦500. And this got me mad, to the extent that I started scolding at them angrily; while they started stoning me, until I left the place for them and fled with my children. Imagine small children I’m old enough to be their mother, asking to sleep with me. Is it because I’m in this condition or what?
“These boys have stolen, killed and eaten all the fowls in this street, among many other things they have committed.
“Why I give them money sometimes to buy something and eat is because of motherhood, because I’m a mother and I treat them as my own children. So, I’m not doing it because I’m very rich.
“Look at my two children: Are they not supposed to be in school by now with their fellow children? But here they are, because I don’t have enough money to train them in school. They don’t even wear good clothes.
“Yet, from the little I have, I still care for these boys, without knowing that I am caring for criminals. And despite all I have done for them and all the bad things they had done me in the past, they still have the mind to come again and rob me of the money I put under my breast and and caress my breast too after almost stripping me naked. Can you imagine that?”
On his own part, when interrogated, the accused, Chigozie Ezeani confessed to some of the accusations, but said they were committed in collaboration with his accomplices, who are now on the run.
Ezeani, who hails from Agulu in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, however, revealed that he has taken the money he stole from the woman last night in the custody of one of his uncles, whom he identified as Brother FearGod —an Awka-based Barber, in whose custody he said he has been keeping all the money and other valuables he has been stealing from people.
While saying he is also homeless because his mother lives in Lagos while his father is unknown to him; he further confessed that the woman, Ifechukwu, caught him in the area in morning after she had identified him at night. He also pledged to take her to his uncle’s barbershop to retrieve the money from him.