A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukuwuememe Onwuamadike, known as Evans to life imprisonment.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi found him and two others guilty of charge of conspiracy and kidnapping pressed against him and two other members of his gang.
The others are Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu.
This is according to the judgement of Justice Hakeem Oshodi of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja after convicting the trio on Friday.
According to Oshodi, “Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu are all convicted on the two count of conspiracy and kidnapping against them.”
Upon conviction, the court has carefully relied on evidence.
Evans and the other convicts – Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, had on February, 14, 2017 kidnapped Mr. Donatus Dunu, the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The Lagos State Government had initially arraigned them on 30th August 2017 and re-arraigned the defendants on 19th October, 2017 on an amended charge.
At initial arraignment, the defendants were Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a couple, Uche Amadi and his wife, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba, a dismissed soldier.
The only female defendant Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba had pleaded not guilty all along.
However the court found only three of the defendants guilty. They are Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans, Uche Amadi and Nwachukwu Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu.
Following their convictions, Evans’ defence counsel, Mr. H.O Ajibola in his allocutus on behalf of the first defendant pleaded that the judge should temper justice when considering sentencing on Evans.
According to him, “He has turned a new leaf.”
While counsel to Uche Amadi, Ms. Obogwu begged Justice Oshodi thus, “The second defendant is a first time offender. He has a son who is dependent on him for livelihood.
He urged, “My Lord, please be lenient on him.
O.O Ajanaku, while pleading on behalf of the fourth defendant who later was assigned as the third defendant after being convicted by the judge on the offences said, “May I on behalf of the fourth defendant beg that you have mercy on him, and apart from being first offender, he has three children and he his remorseful in respect of his acts.
“Give him opportunity to be re-integrated into the society.., he has seen the folly of his action and would be a better person in communication with the society, I so urge.”
State Prosecutor, Titilayo Shitta-Bey (Mrs.) however said, “I urge Honourable judge to impose a sentence that will serve as deterrent to people who are criminally minded to commit such acts.
“My Lord, the message has to be sent out loud and clear.
“The punishment should be rooted out to the defendants that it will be one for zero tolerance for those kinds of violent criminal conduct in Lagos and the society at large. Thank you.”
The road to life imprisonment has began for the trio as the judge passed a life sentence on them.
“None of the defendants showed remorse, they each tried to lie their way out“.
The judge acknowledged that the kidnap victim, Mr. Donatus Dunu, went through harrowing experience in the hands of the kidnapper.
According to him, he was blind-folded until he was able to escape from captivity of his abductors.
He explained, “The law is the law which must be upheld.”
The judge also noted that Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 provides that any person who conspires with another to commit felony in the State, or to do any act outside the State which if done in the State would be a felony, and which is an offence under the Laws in force in the place where it is proposed to be done, commits a felony.
He also cited that the convicts were found guilty on of the Kidnapping Law of Lagos State, 2017.
The judge, therefore pronounced, “They are each hereby sentenced to life imprisonment, this is the judgement of the court,” he rules.
Justice Oshodi however acquitted and discharged three defendants who have been standing trial alongside the three convicts.
One of them was Ogechi Uchechukwu, wife of the second defendant, Uche Amadi and dismissed soldiers, Victor Chukwunonso Aduba and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu.
Recall that Evans and his co-defendants; Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba were standing trial for the February 14, 2017 kidnap of Mr. Donatus Duru, the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited.
The couple were accused of providing a detention camp at 21 Prophet Ashaye Close, New Igando, Lagos for victims kidnapped by Evans, the kidnapper.
The prosecution had said Evans and his gang members of committing the offence of conspiracy and kidnapping of one Duru Donatius at about 7.45pm on February 14 on Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos.
The prosecution said the defendants “between February 14 and April 12 on Obokun Street, Ilupeju, while armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, captured and detained Mr. Duru Donatius.”
The defendants had collected a ransom of 223,000 euros before Donatius could be released.
The convicts were charged under Sections 411 and 271(3) Criminal Law Cap C17 Laws of Lagos State 2015 and Section 2(1) of the Kidnapping Prohibition Law, No 13, Laws of Lagos State 2017.
Unlike the State Criminal Law 2015 which prescribed life sentence for convicts, the Kidnapping Prohibition Law, No 13, Laws of Lagos State 2017 prescribed death sentence if victims die in the custody of kidnappers.
Evans is also facing trial alongside other co-defendants before Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court and Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The defendants had earlier denied a two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy preferred against them.
The Lagos State Government had re-arraigned the defendants on 19th October, 2017.
Evans and his co-Defendants – Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, are accused of kidnaping of Mr Donatus Dunu, the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd on February 14, 2017.
However Justice Hakeem Oshodi discharged and acquitted Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba