Billionaire kidnapper, Evans faces life imprisonment with guilty plea

Alongside five others, the Lagos State government Wednesday arraigned Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike known as Evans, and he pleaded guilty to a two-count charge of “conspiracy and kidnapping”.

Evans and the five others, Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Aduba, according to the government, had conspired on February 14 at about 7.45 pm at Ilupeju, Lagos, to kidnap one Donatus Dunu and collect €223,000 for his release.

Proceedings (Premium Times):

  • Before their charges were read, Olukoya Ogungbeje, counsel to the defendants, attempted to raise an issue before the court but was shunned by the judge who told him “you can’t control my courtroom, the charges have not been read.” After the defendants took their pleas, Mr Ogungbeje said he had wanted to inform the judge that he had not been allowed to discuss with his clients before the arraignment.
  • After he pleaded guilty when the first charge was read, there was a slight pause, and then the judge ordered the court registrar to repeat the question. Evans repeated the same answer. He also pleaded guilty to the second charge of kidnapping.
  • Mr Amadi, the second defendant, also pleaded guilty to the two counts. Mr Nwachukwu pleaded guilty to conspiracy and not guilty to kidnapping. Ms Uchechukwu, the only female in the group, and Messrs. Ifeanyi and Aduba, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
  • Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned till October 19 for the trial of those who pleaded not guilty, and to look at the evidence for those who pleaded guilty to their conviction.
  • While adjourning, the judge ordered that the male defendants be remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison while Ms Uchechukwu be kept at the Kirikiri Female Prison.

What the Lagos law stipulates:

  • June 21, the governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode signed the state kidnapping prohibition bill, 2016 into law.
  • The law prescribes Life Imprisonment or the death penalty for the offence of Kidnapping and forceful extortion in Lagos State.
  • The law provides for the death penalty for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody and life imprisonment for the act of kidnapping.
  • The Lagos State House of Assembly passed the bill on January 5.

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