Evans’ lawyer’s absence stalls proceedings

Evans kidnap kingpin
Kidnap kingpin, Evans, paraded by security operatives [Photo: Punch Newspapers]

The trial of alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (popularly known as Evans) before Adedayo Akintoye, a judge of the Lagos Division of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, was stalled on Monday due to the absence of the defendant’s counsel.

When the matter was called, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, counsel to Evans, informed the court through a letter that he would not be available for the proceedings and requested for an adjournment.

Evans, who is facing criminal trial before several judges, is charged with conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, and attempted murder before Mrs Akintoye.

In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu, and Victor Aduba.

In the second charge, before the same judge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara, and Victor Aduba.

At the last adjourned date, the prosecution’s fifth witness, Izuchukwu Ezeuko, told the court how he travelled to the Eastern part of the country to drop $1 million ransom to the alleged kidnappers of his employer.

Mr Ezeuko, a manager in the firm of the kidnap victim, James Uduji, told the court that he agreed to travel from Lagos to drop the ransom in order to save his boss’ life.

He narrated to the court how he paid the $1 million ransom in two tranches of $800, 000 and $200,000 to the kidnappers.

The witness, who was led in evidence by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice Lagos State, Adeniji Kazeem, told the court that on September 7, 2015, his employer came to the factory at Agbara as he usually does, adding that at about 5.00 p.m., he received a call that his employer who had left the factory for home had been kidnapped.

On October 10, 2015, Mr Ezeuko said he got a call from a private number who said he should speak with his boss.

“My boss then spoke to me and said if I want him alive, I should go to the East to deliver money to the alleged kidnappers.

“I went to Festac and met Mr Edwin Uduji, the victim’s brother, who arranged the first $800, 000 for me to travel with.

“On October 11, which was the next day, I drove down to the East with the victim’s elder sister, in the East, a voice gave us instructions on how to drop the money,” Mr Ezeuko said.

Another witness, Kingsley Harold, a police sergeant, had also given evidence in the first charge in which Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba, for alleged kidnap of Mr Donatus.

Mr Harold, who was led in evidence by Jide Martins, said after Evans was arrested, he was asked to make a statement at the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS)office Ikeja but Evans said he was not too good in writing.

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The case was adjourned till October 24 for continuation of trial.

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