By:Mohammed Oluwatimileyin Taoheed
An Ikeja Special Offences Court has sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping a businessman Slyvanus Ahamonou and collecting $420,000 ransom from his family.
Evans accomplice, Victor Aduba, an ex-soldier, was also sentenced to 21-year imprisonment.
The duo was arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms by the state.
Delivering judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, held that the prosecution had successfully proved the case of kidnap and possession of firearms against the convicts.
“It has been established by the prosecution witness and main complainant, Ahamonou was kidnapped. The question is who kidnapped him?
“Pw3 (Ahamonu) identified the first defendant in court while he was giving his testimony. He also recognized him at the police station nearly two months before the matter was taken to court.
“He testified that he was blindfolded before he was taken to the bus. He said: “Immediately I saw him, I said this was the person that kidnapped me’ I also watched the video where the first defendant admitted to have kidnapped PW3.
“The first defendant sat in a comfortable chair and there was no sign that he made the statement under duress.
”He was not threatened or harassed. He signed the statement.
“He also said how he broke into banks and later graduated to kidnapping.”
Justice Taiwo said she was satisfied that her court can convict the defendants through his confessional statement.
The judge also held that there was no proof before the court that three of the Evans men were killed by the police.
Justice Taiwo convicted Aduba, based on his confessional statement and held that he should serve out his term without an option of fine.
Justice Taiwo said she considered the allocutus of the defence counsel in arriving at her decisions. This sentencing will serve as a deterrent to others.
“The two are sentenced to five-year jail term on first count, second count, 21 years and third count, five years.
“The sentences will, however, run concurrently. It will serve as deterrence to others,” she said.
Counsel to first defendant, Amobi Nzelu, in his allocutus, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that the convict was already serving a life jail term.
“I pray the court to grant him a lesser jail term,” Amobi said.
The second defence counsel, Mrs Adeola Folarin, in her allocutus, also prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the convict was a first offender.
“My lord, he is a young man that has served his country while in the army.
“He also had a child while he was in custody. He is a father of two young children and they have not enjoyed his fatherly love. We pray the court to temper justice with mercy,” Folarin said.
The state counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, however, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged.
“My lord, the first defendant had been sentenced to life imprisonment before Justice Hakeem Oshodi. I urge the court to sentence the defendants accordingly,” Sule said.
Ahamonou and his wife, Chimebere had on December 17, 2021 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 to the court how they sold their properties, borrowed money, raised funds from family and well-wishers to attempt to raise the initial $2 million ransom demanded by Evans.
Sylvanus whose hands and legs were chained throughout his two-month in captivity was only released when the family had allegedly paid Evans $420,000 ransom and he was at the point of death.
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