Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, on Wednesday, gave the prosecution in the trial of alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, a “last chance to put its house in order.”
The judge frowned at the slow pace of proceedings, which began in 2017.
The absence of prosecution witnesses on Wednesday stalled two trials of the defendant.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports in the first suit, Evans is facing trial alongside Victor Aduba, a dismissed member of the Nigerian Army.
The defendants are charged with four counts of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Evans and the dismissed soldier are accused of kidnapping Sylvanus Ahamonu, holding him hostage for at least nine weeks, and collecting a ransom of $420,000 from his family.
When the first suit was announced, a state prosecutor, O.A Bajulaiye-Bishi informed the court that the prosecution was unable to serve the summons issued to the witness due to testify because of the ill health of the lead prosecutor, Yusuf Sule.
Reacting, Evans’ defence counsel, Victor Okpara, told the court that he was earlier informed of the development by the prosecutor.
“Our learned friend did communicate her predicament to me in the morning.
“However, if there is a repeat of this scenario on the next adjourned date I will have to make the necessary applications to the court,” he said.
In the second criminal suit, Evans is facing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze and Udeme Upong over the attempted kidnap of Vincent Obianodo, the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors.
They face a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sale and transfer of firearms.
When the second suit was announced, Mrs Bajulaiye-Bishi informed the court that the witness, Idowu Haruna, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), who was due to continue his testimony in the trial-within-trial was unavailable.
The prosecutor informed the court that the IPO was on an official assignment and that he would be “hopefully present” on the next court date.
“This case (the Obianodo kidnap trial) is for the continuation of the trial-within-trial. It appears the prosecution is not ready with their witness,” said the judge.
“The court grants the prosecution a last chance to put its house in order.
“Both cases are adjourned until April 5, for the continuation of hearing,” she said.
NAN reports that Evans is also facing two trials for kidnap before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court and Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court.
At the time of this report, he is yet to open his defence in all the trials.
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