Suspected kidnap kingpin, Evans denies alleged kidnap, demand of $2million
Suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, has yesterday denied allegations of kidnapping and demand of a $2 million ransom made against him by the Lagos State Government.
Evans and his co-defendants are facing a four count charge of conspiracy,kidnapping and unlawful possession of arms.
They were accused of conspiring and kidnapping Sylvanus Ahanonu Hafia at about 5:30pm on June 23, 2014 at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin in Lagos and were alleged to have captured and detained Hafia and demanded a ransom of $2million.
But they pleaded not guilty to the four count charge.
The two suspect were arraigned after two applications by Evans counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, to quash the charge was dismissed by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.
Evans had, through his counsel, Ogungbeje, challenged the court’s jurisdiction, competence of the charge and lack of fiat to prosecute the case.
At the hearing yesterday, the court ruled among others, that the proof of evidence attached by the prosecution made out a prima facie case against Evans and Aduba.
Justice Taiwo held: “I have read the proof of evidence. The court is the view that there is sufficient reason to proceed. It is immaterial that the first defendant has indicated interest to withdraw his confessional statement. I find that this court has jurisdiction to try the charges. I find that the application is misconceived and lacks merit. This application is subsequently dismissed.”
However, Evans’ counsel informed the court of his intention to test the decision at the Court of Appeal.
However, efforts by the Lagos State government to arraign Evans and three others on a second charge bordering on the attempted murder of the Chairman of The Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Amaechi Obianodo, was not successful.
The second to fourth defendants in this charge are Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze and Udeme Frank Upong.
According to the prosecution, the attempted kidnap of Obianodo occurred at Festac town, Lagos. Obianodo was returning from work at about 9pm when gunmen, numbering five, who drove in a Sport Utility Vehicle intercepted him on 22 Road and opened fire.
His driver and one of his security details, a policeman, Ngozi Chijiokwu, were allegedly killed in the process.
The failure to arraign Evans on this second charge followed the amendment of a date on the document by the prosecution team led by Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Kazeem Adeniji.
“The only issue is whether when a person amends a charge there should be proof of evidence attached to it. The amendment seeks to change a date from 2015 to 2011 on count one. That is all. Everything else is the same,” Adeniji said.
The court upheld Ogungbeje’s contention that this had made the charge irregular. Nevertheless, the judge ruled that the irregularity was curable.
“I find that the amended charge is irregularly filed. However, this does not warrant that the charge should be struck out. All the prosecution needs to do is to file the proof of evidence and serve same on the defence before the next date of appearance,” Justice Taiwo held.
According to the proposed second charge, the state will call 12 witnesses – six civilians and six senior police officers – to testify about the alleged attempted kidnap of Obianodo.
The prosecution also listed nine exhibits that it intends to tender, including four rifles, two pistols, bullet proof vests, among others.
Consequently, Justice Taiwo adjourned till December 15 for Evans’ trial on the first charge and his arraignment alongside three others on the second charge.
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