The trial of alleged kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, took a new twist yesterday after the suspect denied ever making any statement to the police confessing to be a serial kidnapper. At the resumed hearing of his trial at the Ikeja High Court, Lagos, Evans, through his counsel, Chino Obiagu, made the denial after an attempt by the prosecuting counsel, Adebayo Haroun, to tender documents containing the statement of the first defendant (Evans) as exhibits before Justice Hakeem Oshodi.
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Evans, through Obiagu, said the purported statement was not written by him neither was it voluntarily made as claimed by the police. The five suspected members of his gang, namely,
Uchenna Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu (the only female among the gang) and two ex-army officers, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba, who are also standing trial with him, denied ever making any statement to the police.
Their counsel argued that the statement sought to be tendered by the prosecutor was written by a policeman, Inspector Idowu Haruna, attached to Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team. Obiagu also objected to the tendering of a video clip during trial within trial, showing Evans confessing to the crime at the police station on the grounds that it does not conform with Section 84 of the Evidence Act.
“I object to the admissibility of this document because the first defendant did not make them voluntarily and I am also yet to be served with a copy of the video or the certified true copy,” Obiagu told Oshodi.
Haruna, who the suspects accused of writing the false statements, told the court that he wrote the statement on behalf of Evans after he was arrested on June 2017, because he claimed he did not complete secondary school and, therefore, could not write well in English language. While being led in evidence, Haruna said that Evans and his gang all volunteered their statements under caution after being charged with the offence of criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.
“I got to know the defendants when they were arrested for the kidnap of one Mr. Donatus Dunu, the managing director of Maydon Pharmaceutical Company, who escaped from their custody at Igando area, Lagos. When the matter was referred to my department at the IGP Response Team, we immediately visited the scene where the abductors had held him and discovered it was a well fenced and furnished bungalow with two flats just like any normal building.
“Having noticed that their victim had escaped, the gang abandoned the house before we got there. We conducted a search and discovered several AK-47 rifles (military version) and pistols, which they left behind. It was through our investigation and items recovered from the building that we arrested Uchenna Amadi, who had run to seek refuge in Port Harcourt.
“Amadi, during interrogation, confessed that Evans was the mastermind and leader of their gang. This information led to the arrest of Evans at Igando area when he was about to run out of the country to Ghana. During Evans’s testimony, he mentioned other members of his gang, like Ifeanyi and Aduba, who are former army officers; Nwachukwu, aka Congo, who is the agent and informant that sold information of victims to kid- nap, Uchenna Amadi and his wife, Ogechi.
“My team also made a video recording of Evans’s confession and narration of all his kidnapping activities before and after he came to Lagos in 2013. After volunteering their statements, it was read to them and they signed. I, however, signed as the recorder. Some of the suspects recorded their statements by themselves but I personally recorded the statement of Evans and Victor Aduba.
“Their statement was further read to them again by a senior police officer, CSP Philip (former DSP) and they all agreed to have volunteered without duress. Evans, however, told us that he never imagined he could ever be caught because he had no other means of livelihood apart from crime, kidnapping and armed robbery.”