The trial of suspected kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans officially commenced on Friday as a prosecution witness regaled a Lagos High Court, Ikeja Judicial Division, how he paid the defendants the sum of N100m ransom to secure his brother’s release.
The witness, Anselem Dunu, the elder brother of Donatus Dunu, the Chairman of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, who was kidnapped on February 14, 2017, told Justice Hakeem Oshodi, the trial judge that Evans did not release his brother even after collecting 223,000 Euros.
Dunu,said his brother was in the kidnapper’s den for four months, adding that during this period, the kidnappers through phone calls threatened him and demanded for 100 million Euros.
“On the 14th of February I received a phone call from my younger brother Innocent Dunu informing me about my brother has been kidnap.
“We rushed to the Ilupeju Police Station where we reported the case. We were referred to SCID Panti where the CSP in charge told me that the pattern of kidnapping was similar to that of the notorious kidnapper, Evans.
“The CSP further told me to be strong adding that Evans would contact me in two weeks as it was his pattern, and that I should be strong because the kind of money they would ask us to bring can make me faint.
“After two weeks a private number called me and I heard my brother’s voice at the other end begging me to close all his bank accounts and give the kidnappers all the money. My brother’s voice was anxious and filled with pain. I told him that there was no way I could access his accounts since I was not a signatory. The call ended abruptly.
“I was contacted again after four days and my brother sounded more desperate, begging me not to allow him die in captivity.
“The kidnappers grabbed the phone from my brother and demanded for 1 million Euros, to which I replied that we were only able to raise N20m. The voice on the other end started saying, ‘thunder fire you. Go and get us our money,’ and the call ended.
“I rallied round and managed to raise N60m which I informed the kidnappers when they called after three days. The kidnapper demanded for 1m Euros if I wanted to see my brother alive.
“The kidnapper threatened to kill me whenever I bring the money. He also insisted that I must be the one to bring the money. I could hear my brother’s voice in the background pleading for mercy and shouting, ‘please stop beating me.’
“We were finally able to raise N100m which we changed into 223,000 Euros. They contacted me and I told them what we were able to raise. They thereafter told me they would contact me.
“They contacted me and I arranged with my Cousin, Uche Okeagbu to take the money to them. They demanded I give the phone to Uche, and instructed him to bring the money to Oshodi.
“We packaged the money in cellophane bags and Uche took it to them in Oshodi. After they collected the 223,000 Euros, they stopped calling. Sometimes in May, I got a call from my younger brother who told me that my brother Donatus had escaped from the kidnappers den”.
When we were finally reunited with him, he was in a very critical condition. He was emaciated. His beard was so bushy and white. In short, he looked like an early man.
When he was asked if he knew the 4th defendant, Dunu answered in the affirmative
“I know Nwachukwu very well. He is my very good friend and I fondly call him Congo. He apologized profusely when he saw me and told me that it was the devil and greed that pushed him into kidnapping.
He further stated that he was shocked to see him at the police headquarters
“At the Bourdillon Police Headquaters the 4th defendant, Okuchukwu Nwachukwu was paraded as the one that tipped off Evans about my brother.
Speaking further Dunu said “Evans was also paraded as the mastermind behind the kidnap. When Evans was asked why he chose my brother he said it was a random act, adding that one of his boys was not feeling fine and had bought a drug manufactured by Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited. He also said when he checked the manufacturer’s address, he contacted Nwachukwu who gave him details of my brother’s movements,” Anselem Dunu told the court.
Justice Oshodi thereafter adjourned the matter till November 17 for continuation of trial
Earlier during the proceedings, Justice Oshodi dismissed an application seeking to quash the kidnapping and conspiracy charges against Evans and the other defendants. Justice Oshodi in his ruling said the court found no merit in the application.
Evan’s Counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, informed the court that he had two applications pending before the court; one seeking to entirely quash the two count charge against his client while the other application is asking the court to grant his client bail.
Ogungbeje further argued that filing two separate suits against his client in two different courts, is a gross abuse if court processes.
He also argued that there is no prima facie case against his client, adding that his client’s name was not mentioned by any of his alleged ‘victims.’
“There is no ground for Prosecution. The same witnesses the prosecution listed in the suit filed before the Igbosere High Court are the same ones listed in the suit before the Ikeja High Court.
“The new amended charge has no proof of evidence. The proof of evidence presently before this court is the one attached to the former charge, therefore there is ground for the proceedings,” Ogungbeje argued.
“The law is against filing multiplicity of suits against the same person. The Supreme Court also affirmed that instituting different charges before the same party simultaneously is an abuse of court process
In her response, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Ms. T.K Shitta Bey, told the court that the matter was earlier adjourned for prosecution to open trial.
“On behalf of the 1st defendant we were served with application asking the court to quash information before the court. We have responded by filing a counter affidavit. In another application, they are asking the 1st and 2nd defendants to be admitted on bail and acceleration of the trial
“It is in my humble observation the application are conflicting one another. One is asking to quash the charges, the other is asking for accelerated hearing. The application is frivolous and an abuse of court and an attempt to delay court process,” Shitta Bey said.