A prosecution witness, Mr. Ansalem Dunu, has claimed that during the time he was interfacing with the billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, he learned that the kidnap kingpin collected nothing less than N100 million as ransom from his victims. Mr. Dunu said this while giving testimony before Justice Hakeem Oshodi at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, on Friday.
The examination in chief which was led by Ms. Titi Shitta-Bay, Director of Public Prosecution, revealed that Evans and his kidnap syndicate kidnapped the Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Mr. Donatus Dunu on February 14, 2017, and was not released until a ransom of €223,000 (Euros) was paid.
The witness who is the elder brother of the kidnapped victim narrated how his brother was abducted and how the kidnapper threatened and pestered him until he finally paid the ransom.
He said in the process of negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers, he was threatened. “On one of the occasions that they called, I told them I have gathered N60 million and that was my limit. The voice that always rain abuses on me said “you are wasting our time, shebi na you go bring this money. Let’s see how you will go back alive” Mr. Dunu said.
The witness also informed the court that the kidnappers got information about his brother through his old time friend Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu known to him simply as ‘Chuks’ the 4th defendant in the ongoing criminal trial.
“Abba Kyari called that they have arrested the kidnapper. After sometimes, he called that the person who gave my brother’s particulars has been arrested. They took us to the place they kept a person they referred to as ‘Baba Eko’ but they brought out Chuks.
“I was shocked! I asked him what I did to deserve what he did. He said I did not do anything but it was greed and devil. He apologized profusely to me” Mr. Dunu said.
Evans and his co-accused in court
On the day the younger Dunu was kidnapped, his elder brother said it was Enoch Dunu, their youngest brother who informed him of what had happened at the pharmaceutical shop in Ilupeju area of Lagos, where the incident occurred.
The matter was subsequently reported at Ilupeju police station where the family members of the victim was referred to anti-kidnapping squad CID Panti annex in Sura, Lagos, the older Dunu narrated.
He said after a week his brother had vanished, the police in charge of the case informed him that he suspected that the kidnapper might be Evans’ gang and that it takes about two weeks before they contact their victims’ family members for ransom.
True to the conjecture of the police officer, Mr. Dunu said a call from a private number came through his phone.
“They called exactly two weeks after my brother was taken but it was my brother who spoke to me. He said I should go to his bank, get the money and give to the person that called. I told him how can I do that when I am not even a signatory to your account.
“Three days later, a call came again marked private. It was my brother’s voice. He said even if I cannot get the money from his account, I should go and look for the money. The line went off again. Two days later, a phone call came and my brother was still asking for money” he explained
Mr. Dunu further explained that he and his other brother frantically raised N60 million but the kidnapper raised their demand and asked for one million Euro instead but he insisted that there was no how he could raise one million Euros.
He stated that he eventually raised €223,000 (Euros) and was delivered to the kidnappers by one Uchenna Ukagu, the manager of his kidnapped brother.
“On the 12 April 2017, he (the kidnapped brother) called again to get the money across to the person talking on the phone. At 6 O’clock, my younger brother (Enoch), Uchenna and I met to arrange €223,000 (Euros.) We wrapped the money in a cellophane bag.
Uchenna delivered the money to the kidnapper around Oshodi and few days after the money was delivered Mr. Dunu’s kidnapped brother was released, he told the court.
Justice Oshodi discharged the witness and asked Mr. Joseph Otiogeolu, lawyer to Ogechi Uchechukwu, to take the bail application for his client.
Mr. Otiogeolu urged the court to grant his client, the only female arraigned with Evans, bail on liberal terms.
He argued that the defendant is not linked to the case in any way except that her spouse, Uche Amadi, was part of the gang, adding that he would have brought an application for the name of his client to be struck out of the charge but for negative media coverage that has preceded the case, he would prefer that she argues her innocence and be exonerated of every allegation.
Further arguing the application for bail, he stated that while Mrs. Uchechukwu and others were being transported from Port Harcourt to Lagos, there was an accident and his client sustained serious injuries.
“I have informed the prison of her health condition but there is no facility for the prison to take care of her.
“She needs to also take care of her 12 years old child. The prosecution did not counter any of the averment we made but said they denied because they want her to prove her innocence.
“They said the police investigative report indicted her as part of a kidnap syndicate but the investigation report is not before this court,” Mr. Otiogeolu said.
He said the defendant-applicant has right to be granted bail and urged the court to grant her same in liberal terms.
Ms. Shitta-Bay, Director of Public Prosecutions who is prosecuting for the Lagos state government opposed the bail application. She said the defendant is likely to jump bail.
On the health issue, she said there is no medical report before the court to show that she indeed needs medical attention.
Justice Oshodi adjourned the matter till November 17 for ruling on the bail application, cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.