By Lukman Olabiyi
The Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja yesterday, sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping a businessman, Slyvanus Ahamonou, and collecting $420,000 as ransom from his family.
Evans accomplice, Victor Aduba, an ex-soldier was also sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on a four-count charge bordering on kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
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 (PW3, Ahamonou) that the complainant was kidnapped. The question is who kidnapped him? Pw3 identified the first defendant in court while he was giving his testimony. He also recognised 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 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 disclosed how he broke into banks and later graduated to kidnapping. I am satisfied that this court can convict the defendants through his confessional statement,” Taiwo said.
The judge also held that there was no proof before the court that three of the Evans’ 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 fine.
“I have considered the allocutus of the defence counsel. This sentencing will serve as a deterrent to others. The two are, hereby, sentenced to five years jail term for first count, second count, 21 years, and third count, five years.
“The sentencing will, however, run concurrently. They are, hereby, sentenced to 21 years imprisonment without an option of fine,” Taiwo said.
The first defence counsel, Mr 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 will grant him a lesser jail term,” Amobi said.
The second defence counsel, Mrs Adeola Folarin, I’m 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.
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