Purchase Of Stolen Property?
Nigerian law often talks about purchase of stolen property... and our police outfit is ever eager to quote this law...reminding those persons who might have purchased stolen items in error that "ignorance of the law is not an excuse in law"!
I am however inclined to ask why the same law allows persons whose goods were purchased with stolen money to go scot free! If buyers are so severely punished, the same penalties should be extended to sellers who receive stolen monies!
Like other robberies before it, I noted that as our police force was able to arrest the men who robbed commercial banks in Ikorodu area of Lagos, and as the police also recovered SUVs and other items bought with the stolen money, no mention was made of the "receivers of stolen money" who sold those items to the robbers!
You think my argument lacks logic? Of course you are very right! For how can a seller possibly ascertain the source of the money with which he is paid?
In similar vein, a buyer may not know the real source of the goods he is buying....as the purveyors of stolen wares are unlikely to tell their buyers that the items they are about to buy are stolen items!
If security and legal authorities are apprehensive that some buyers may intentionally purchase stolen goods only to plead ignorance of the source, our laws must state in clear terms...and our security operatives primed to determine...that stolen items were intentionally purchased....
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.