‘How ex-employee robbed me at gunpoint’
A baker, Mrs. Vinitha Nimmyel, has narrated to a Lagos High Court sitting at the Tinubu Square, how she was robbed at gunpoint by a 26-year-old, Paul Elaigwu, her former employee.
Nimmyel, the first prosecution witness in Paul Elaigwu’s trial, told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that she was traumatised and has been living in fear since the incident occurred. She told the court that Elaigwu worked as a cashier in her bakery, located at Anjeous Drive, Lekki, Lagos.
She said: “Elaigwu, the defendant, worked for three weeks in the bakery, where we produce snacks and we are also into delivery. He worked from September 2 to 21, 2019 before I disengaged him when I realised he was not suitable for the job. So, I paid him off.
“On December 16, 2019, I heard a loud voice and I came out of my office in the bakery. He said he wanted to come back to work. I replied that I had no work for him. He said he wanted to show me who he is and went to bring a gun (pistol) from his bag. He ordered my personal assistant, Adeola Koledaye and me to move to my office upstairs.
“I ran to my office and locked the door. Adeola ran to another office to hide. The defendant broke the door. I pleaded with him, but he broke and disconnected the CCTV hard drive and went with it.
“He asked for my phone and ATM, which were in my bag in the kitchen downstairs. He took my car key, ordered that I should go downstairs. He took my phones, ATM cards and laptop. He drove off in my car, a grey Dodge Caravan, 2013 model. So, I went to Maroko Police Station to report the incident.
“Later, I got a call from the station that the defendant had been arrested, and that I should come and identify him. Fear gripped me. I had described him to my husband. I couldn’t go, but my husband, a Captain in the Nigeria Navy, went on my behalf.
“He was told that he would be contacted in due course. So, I was glad when I received a call sometime in September 2020 from the Ministry of Justice about the matter.”
She further told the court that she was able to recover the car, though it was badly damaged. Furthermore, the defendant was arrested on December 21, 2019.
“When the defendant was stopped at Onitsha, he refused to obey the police. The struggle between him and the police led to an accident that damaged the car. It was fixed and brought back to Lagos for me.
“It was a bad experience that left me in fear. Whenever I hear loud voices in front of my house or office, fear always grips me. For almost four months after, we couldn’t reopen. I was scared to open the gate like we used to do in the past. I prayed the court to give me justice.”
The defendant was thereafter cross-examined by the defendant counsel, Mrs. C.G. Emwerejr.
The defendant’s counsel informed the court that they had spoken to the prosecutor about the plea bargain process. She was at the point of asking for a further date for cross-examination when the judge directed her to cross-examine the witness.
Justice Adesanya said the matter was instituted in 2020, so she would not direct the witness to come another day. She noted that people live with such trauma for life, and praised the witness for coming to give evidence, as some victims of crime do not have the courage to face the perpetrator in court, which always make the prosecution amend charges to get justice. She said victims should be courageous to give evidence in their matter.
Under cross-examination, the witness said she could not ascertain whether the defendant was stealing her money during the period he worked with her.
She, however, told the court of an incident of a missing key. She narrated that her sister and salesgirl told her how the defendant stole a key and dropped it at the security post.
She explained that the defendant came to rob her during the period he knew security men at the gate usually go for prayer.
“When the security man came after the incident, he saw the defendant driving out. He chased the defendant with his motorcycle, but he couldn’t stop him,” she said.
Thereafter, Justice Adesanya explained the process and purpose of the plea bargain to the victim before she subsequently adjourned further hearing to November 11, 2021.