Two men — Elijah Ogunyemi and Wasiu Saliu — are to spend the next five years in jail, but really, they should be grateful.

They robbed a man of his phone valued at N150, 000 and a mob had attempted to set them ablaze but for the timely intervention of the police.

According to the police who arraigned them before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, the convicts were “professional pickpockets”.

“The men admitted during interrogation that they have been picking pockets of people for over two years,” the prosecutor said.

But on their arrest, the stolen phone and a cutlass were recovered from them by the police.

How they graduated to robbery is not farfetched.

The convicts pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy and theft, and asked the court to temper justice with mercy, saying they committed the crime because of lack of job and poverty.

But the Magistrate, Mrs O. Sule Amzat, would not buy those excuses.

She said that the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.

Amzat advised Ogunyemi, 22, and Saliu, 20, both residents of Oremeta Street, Ojodu Berger, on the outskirts of Lagos, to desist from committing crime.

One can only hope that they take this as a second chance to turn a new leaf. 

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