Alleged Kidnapping: Court Dismisses Move By Evans’s Co-Defendant To Stop Trial
A Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area has dismissed a no-case submission by one Victor Aduba, arraigned alongside kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, for Kidnapping.
In her ruling delivered on Friday, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo held that the state government had established a prima facie case linking the defendant to the crime, which makes it necessary for him to open his defense.
Aduba, a dismissed soldier of the Nigerian Army and Evans, were arraigned by the Lagos State Government on allegations of kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu and collecting a $420,000 ransom from his family.
They both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In his no-case submission application, counsel to Aduba, Emmanuel Ochai, had argued that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant. He asked the court to dismiss the charge against his client.
The prosecutor, Yusuf Sule, on his part asked the court to determine whether the evidence adduced by him had sufficiently linked the defendant to the alleged offences.
In her ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Taiwo held, “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,” the judge held.
In Dec 2021, Sylvanus and his wife, Chimebere Ahamonu, had testified virtually about how Evans and his gang kidnapped him on June 23, 2014, on Kara Road off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
The couple narrated how they sold properties, borrowed money, and raised funds from family and well wishers to attempt to raise the initial $2 million ransom that was demanded by Evans.
Sylvanus, who said his hands and legs were chained throughout his two months in captivity, said he was only released when the family paid Evans the $420,000 ransom. He said by this time, he was at the point of death.
On Feb 4, 2022, Evans, who is the first defendant in the case, opened his defence and denied kidnapping Ahamonu and collecting $420,000 as ransom from the businessman’s family.
On Feb 25, 2022, Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Evans and two others to life imprisonment for the kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu.
The court held that there was insufficient evidence to link the only woman in the group, Ogechi Uchechukwu, with the office and she and two other former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, were acquitted and discharged on the offence.
Evans is, however, still facing four other kidnapping charges before other judges of the Lagos High Court