Nigeria: After Life Sentence, Another Court Jails Evans 21 Years for Kidnapping

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday convicted and sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.

Justice Taiwo jailed Evans and his co-defendant, a former soldier, Victor Aduba, for 21 years after she found them guilty of a four-count charge of conspiracy, kidnapping, and unlawful possession of firearms brought against them by the state government.

They were also convicted and sentenced to five years each on two other counts of conspiracy to commit the acts and for being in unlawful possession of firearms.

The court held that the jail terms will run concurrently with no option of a fine.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi had on February 25, 2022, sentenced Evans and two others to life imprisonment for the kidnapping of the chief executive officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu.

Evans is still facing three other kidnapping charges at various high courts of Lagos State.

The convicts are arraigned by the Lagos State government on allegations of kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu and collecting $420,000 ransom from his family.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Justice Taiwo, held in her judgement, that the prosecution had successfully proven its case against the convicts beyond all reasonable doubts.

The judge, who described the action of the convicts as highly condemnable, held that the verdict would serve as a deterrent to others who are involved or are planning to commit the crime in the future.

She identified two issues for determination, whether the victim was kidnapped and whether the defendants did it.

The court stated, “It has been established that the prosecution witness (PW3, Ahamonou) complainant was kidnapped. The question is who kidnapped him?

“The third prosecution witness (pw3) 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 being 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 having kidnapped pw3,” the judge said.

On the allegations made by Evans that his confessional statement was obtained under duress, the judge held, “the first defendant sat in a comfortable chair and there was no sign that he made the statement under duress.

“The investigator was not armed and he was professional. He didn’t threaten or harass the defendant. The defendant was in a relaxed mood and the investigator was professional in getting answers from questioning the defendant.

“He also said how he broke into banks and later graduated to kidnapping. I am satisfied that this court can convict the defendants through his confessional statement,” Justice Taiwo held.

The court further held that there was no proof before the court that three of Evans’s men were killed by the police.

She also convicted Aduba, based on his confessional statement, and held that he should serve out his term without an option of a fine.

“It was established that Aduba was a member of the gang which was led by Evans and that his job was to give them safe passage during the operation.”

The court also considered the confessional statement of the second defendant, in which the judge narrated.

“I am an Army officer and I was introduced to armed robbery and kidnapping by one Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (Evans) our gang leader, we have operated five times.

“I have participated five times and we used four AK47 Rifles to kidnap Amuwo Odofin after one month Evans gave me N1 million, as my share of the money. I have made up to N6.5m, in the five times I participated.

“I found the first and second defendants guilty as charged, I hereby convict them as charged,” Justice Taiwo said.

The convict lawyers, Amobi Nzela for Evans and Aseola Folarin for Aduba in their allocutus pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.

Folarin said that Aduba was a first-time offender whose wife gave birth four months into his incarceration and has not seen the child since he was born.

“He is a father of two and a young man that has served this country while in the Army,” Folarin said.

The state counsel, 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.

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