The absence of a witness who was to testify in the defence of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (also known as Evans) on Wednesday stalled his trial before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Evans’s counsel, Oyekunle Falabi, informed the court that the witness, whose name was not provided, could no longer be reached via phone.
Mr Falabi is from Victor Okpara and Co. Chambers.
“My lord, ordinarily we are ready to go on, but I’m surprised that the first defendant’s (Evans) witness is not in court.
“My lord, we have even put her through as a witness and I am surprised that she is not here.
“I have been trying to reach her on phone but her line is switched off. I am praying that the court should give us a short date,” he said.
Counsel to Evans’s five co-defendants also agreed with Mr Falabi’s request for an adjournment.
Responding, Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until June 29 for the continuation of defence.
“All other defendants should bring their witnesses on that day so that the day will not be wasted,” Mr Oshodi said.
NAN reports that Evans while testifying in his defence on January 22 denied being a kidnapper.
Led in evidence by lead defence counsel, Victor Okpara, Evans denied all allegations of kidnapping levelled against him by the Lagos State Government.
He insisted that he was a legitimate businessman.
He said that his nickname was not Evans and that he was coerced into admitting being a kidnapper after the police, in a bid to make him confess, extra-judicially killed four individuals in his presence.
“I live at Fred Shoboyede Street, Magodo Phase II, Lagos. I am a businessman and I deal on ornaments and Horlicks.
“My lord, my name is not Evans and I don’t have a nickname,” he said.
He said that prior to being apprehended by the authorities, he had never met his five co-defendants.
He said that he met his co-defendants for the first on the day they were paraded as members of a kidnap syndicate by the police at Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos.
His co-defendants are – Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba.
NAN reports that the six defendants were arraigned before Justice Oshodi on August 31, 2017, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping.
They are accused of kidnapping Donatus Dunu, the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
According to the prosecution, Dunu was kidnapped on Ilupeju Road, Lagos State, on Febuary 14, 2017.
The defendants allegedly collected 223,000 Euros as ransom from Mr Dunu’s family.