… Court orders Evans’s co-defendant to open defence, over Alleged $420,000 ransom***
Convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, charged with various cases of kidnapping, on Friday obeyed the order of an Ikeja Special Offences Court to get a new counsel.
Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka for allegedly attempting to kidnap the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors, Chief Vincent Obianodo.
The newsmen report that at today’s proceedings, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, a counsel to the co-defendant of Evans in a sister case, held brief for Mr Chuks Muoma (SAN), the new Evan’s counsel.
Newsmen report that Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo had during the proceedings on March 28 expressed displeasure over the absence of the defendants.
She queried one of the warders from the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre who was present in court why the defendants were not brought to court for their trial.
Responding to the query, the warder told the court that there was a mix up on the date, adding that the date on their record for the appearance of the defendants was April 28.
Newsmen also report that Taiwo had on March 11 ordered Evans to get a legal representative before the next date of adjournment or be ready to defend himself.
Frank Udeme, one of the co-defendants of Evans had been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on March 11.
Udeme had pleaded guilty to selling firearms to Evans.
According to the prosecution, Evans and Emeka committed the offences on Aug. 27, 2013, at Third Avenue in Festac Town, Lagos.
Evans and his accomplice are alleged to have killed one Ngozi Chijioke and attempted to kidnap and kill Obianodo.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sale and transfer of firearms over the attempted kidnap of Obianodo.
Taiwo adjourned the case until June 15 for trial.
In the same vein, an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday dismissed a no-case submission by Victor Aduba, charged along with kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike (alias Evans).
The newsmen report that Aduba, an ex-soldier and Evans are charged with
kidnapping a businessman, Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu, and collecting a $420,000 ransom from his family.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ruled that prosecution established a prima facie case against Aduba,
adding that his no-case submission dated Feb. 23 failed.
“I have carefully considered the submissions of the prosecution and the defence.
“The court, at this stage, is not to review evidence of the prosecution but to see whether
the prosecution has enough evidence before the court to warrant the defendant to defend himself.
“Evidence of the prosecution shows that it has sufficiently proven a prima facie case against the defendant and the defendant has a case to answer.
“I hereby dismiss the application of the defence, and order that the defendant should open his defence,” Taiwo ruled.
Defence counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, had argued that prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.
He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the charge against his client.
Prosecution counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, had, however, asked the court to determine
whether the evidence adduced sufficiently linked the defendant to the alleged offences.
Newsmen report that Evans had on Feb. 4 opened his defence and denied kidnapping Ahamonu and
collecting $420,000 ransom from his family.
Newsmen also report that the judge expressed dissatisfaction at the absence of the defendants on March 28 which stalled their the trial.
The judge adjourned the case until June 15 for Aduba to open defence.
Evans is facing four kidnapping charges at various high courts of Lagos State.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi on Feb. 25, sentenced him and two other to life imprisonment for kidnapping
Mr Donatius Dunu, the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd.