Nigeria does not take lightly, the crime of stealing no matter how petty and have in the criminal code, distinguished these crimes alongside their allotted punishment for any offender. According to the criminal code act, every inanimate thing, whatever is the property of any person and which is movable is capable of being stolen.
Every tame animal, whether tame by nature or wild by nature and tamed, which is property of any person is capable of being stolen but tame pigeons are not capable of being stolen except while they are in a pigeon house or their owner’s house.
The criminal code act defines stealing as;
- A person who fraudulently takes anything capable of being stolen or fraudulently converts to his own use or to the use of another person, anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing
- A person who takes or converts anything capable of being stolen is deemed to do so fraudulently if he does so with any of the following intents;
- An intent permanently to deprive the owner of the thing of it
- An intent permanently to deprive any person who has any special property in the thing of such property
- An intent to use the thing as a pledge or security
- An intent to part with it on a condition as to its return which the person taking or converting it may be unable to perform
- An intent to deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be returned in the condition in which it was at the time of the taking or conversion
- In the case of money, and intent to use it at the will of the person who takes or converts it, although he may intend afterward to repay the amount to the owner.
Punishment for stealing
The criminal code states clearly the punishment for stealing in various categories. Stealing as little as One thousand Naira (1000) makes you liable to seven years imprisonment. That is how serious this crime is taken in Nigeria. Here are other punishments in categories;
According to the criminal code, you are liable to life imprisonment if you steal any of these things listed below;
- A will.
- Postal matter or any chattel, money, or valuable security contained in any postal matter.
You are liable to 2 years imprisonment if;
- The thing stolen is any of the following; horse, mare, gelding, ass, mule, camel, goat pig, or the young of any such animal.
You are liable to 7 years imprisonment if;
- The thing is stolen from the person of another.
- The thing is stolen in a dwelling house and the value exceeds 10 Naira.
- The thing is stolen from any kind of vehicle or vessel.
- The thing stolen is attached to or forms a railway.
- The thing is stolen from a wrecked or stranded vehicle.
- The thing is stolen from a public office in which it is deposited or kept.
- If the offender, in order to commit the offence opens any locked room, box, or other receptacles by means of a key or other instrument.
If you are;
- A person working in the public service.
- A clerk or a servant.
- A property agent.
- Directors or officers of companies.
- A tenant or a lodger who takes something worth at least 10 Naira from the space you are let in.
- A convict who has been found guilty of a previous crime.
If you are found guilty of stealing from these respective places of work, you’d be liable to 7 years imprisonment.