A female undergraduate identified as Maria from a popular university in the Niger Delta region was yesterday given 36 strokes of cane for allegedly stealing a bowl of tomato seed at the popular Ogbeogonogo Market in Asaba, Delta State.
Eyewitnesses said the lady, who was accompanied by one of her class mates to the market to buy seed tomato in preparation for her birthday celebration today, was allegedly caught while taking the bowl away without payment.
Leadership Sunday gathered that the suspect had excused her friend on the spot to buy other things for the birthday when she unsuspectingly picked the bowl of the tomato out and after a period of time of search by the seller, she was found with the missing bowl.
The tomato seller’s persistent shout for help allegedly attracted the attention of other traders, who helped her to catch the suspect, who was attempting to board a car with the bowl of tomato.
When the undergraduate saw that the game was up, she allegedly dumped the tomato bowl into the gutter, an action that drew the anger of other traders.
Upon interrogation, it was gathered that the dazed suspect could only say: “Madam, I am sorry, I never knew I took it along,” claiming that it was “the devil’s work.”
The suspect, who claimed to be solely responsible for her education after the death of her parents, was allegedly given 36 strokes of cane by the angry mob, who threatened to burn her alive but for the intervention of local security agents.
Only last Tuesday, a housewife was beaten to coma for stealing pants at the same market.