By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
A State High Court sitting in Ikeja axis of Lagos has sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly called Evans, and two of his accomplices, to life imprisonment, after being found guilty of two counts of criminal conspiracy and kidnapping Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals, Donatus Duru.
The other two persons found to have been liable for the crime brought before them, including Evans by the government were: Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu.
The three accused were handed the sentences by Justice Hakeem Oshodi on Friday, after they were convicted by the court, following the inability of their counsel to convince the judge that Evans and the two others were not culpable.
During convicting of the trio, Justice Oshodi held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge against them beyond a reasonable doubt and that the court has no other opinion than to rule on the case.
The judge held that he observed the demeanour of the witness, stating that in some of the confessional videos played in court, Evans had mentioned some of the other defendants and the roles they played in the crime.
“He was seen freely laughing and willingly answered questions. A close look at his body shows no sign of torture. He did not look unkempt. He is seen laughing even when he was told that he must be a rich kidnapper,” Justice Oshodi said.
“He showed no remorse in the dock and tried to lie his way out of the crimes despite the video evidence.”
Oshodi further concluded that the evidence tendered before the court, especially the video confessions of the accused, corroborated their guilt.
The court, meanwhile, discharged and acquitted Ogechi Uchechukwu and two former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, for lack of sufficient evidence linking them to the crime.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Government had arraigned Evans alongside Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba for allegedly kidnapping the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu, on February 14, 2017.
While filing the case before the court, the state had claimed that the convicts committed the alleged offence between February 14 and April 12, 2017.
The prosecution had further told the court that the incident took place at about 7:45 pm, along Obokun Street, in the Ilupeju area of Lagos.
The prosecution told the court that on April 12, Evans alongside the other five defendants, while armed with guns and other weapons captured, detained and collected a ransom of 223,000 euros from Donatus for his release.
The Lagos State Government subsequently arraigned the defendants before the court in August 2017.