A Lagos Division of the Lagos State High Court has fixed November 10 to rule on applications to quash the murder charge against alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans.
Evans was to be arraigned last Monday alongside Joseph Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze, and Udeme Upong, on seven counts of conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and selling of firearms.
But his lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, filed applications claiming the duplicity of the charges as well as challenging the court’s jurisdiction.
Mr. Ogungbeje told the court the charge against his client was only served on him on Monday morning.
However, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Titilayo Shitta-Bey, asked the court to discountenance the application on the ground that the business before the court is arraignment of the accused persons, adding that the application filed by Mr. Ogungbeje is unripe for hearing.
Ms. Shitta-Bey also told the court that the prosecution had done what is in conformity with their law by serving Evans personally with the information of the charge.
She said the charge was served on Evans on August 20, 2017, while in police custody.
On Friday, Mr. Ogungbeje argued that a similar suit consisting of the same charges had been brought against his client at a high court in Ikeja, adding that the state was duplicating charges.
The DPP in a counter argument opined that the argument of the defence counsel was a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the context of the word ‘to duplicate’.
Ms. Shitta-Bey, relying on Section 153 of the Administration of Criminal Justice, ACJ, of 2015, said that since the offences stated were committed on separate days, it couldn’t be termed as ‘duplicity.’
“Therefore when an offence is committed on separate days, in this case, the offence of attempted kidnapping was committed in 2014, which can be brought in different courts,” she added.
The police alleged that Evans and his group had conspired to kidnap Vincent Obianodo as well as killing one Chijoke Ngozi.
The offences are contrary to and punishable under sections221, 228(1) 409, of the Criminal Law, Ch. C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015, while the allegation of possession of firearms And Section 9(2) are punishable under Section 27 (b) (iii) of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.