Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos has heard how a businessman, Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu was kidnapped and made to pay $420,000 ransom by alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans and his gang.
Ahamonu who gave his evidence online via the Zoom App was testifying as the third prosecution witness during the trial of Evans and a dismissed member of the Nigeria Army, Victor Aduba.
While led in evidence by the State Prosecutor, Mr Yusuf Sule, the businessman said his ordeal began on the evening of June 23, 2014, while heading home from work.
He said his driver was waylaid by two or three men in police and military uniform claiming to be men of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
“Evans came into my car brandishing an AK-47 rifle. I saw his face, he cannot deny it. The men in the army and police uniforms were beating me. They said I was wanted by SARS”.
“Their bus was parked close by and they took me into the bus, put me on the floor and covered my head. They placed their feet on my head throughout the trip.
“After about two or three hours they transferred me to a Sienna and took me to a building where they handcuffed my hands and legs and began interrogating me about my personal life and business”.
The witness said that three weeks (with his hands and feet chained, while being blindfolded within the period) into captivity, the kidnappers contacted his wife and asked her to pay a $2 million ransom or he will be murdered.
He said that his spouse in order to meet up with their demands sold their properties and contacted family, friends and well-wishers. “We gave them a total of $420,000,” Ahamonu said.
He told the court that Evans had also threatened to kill Dominic his immediate elder brother who had dropped off the first tranche of $200,000 of the ransom because he had reported the abduction to the police.
The businessman alleged that Evans also kidnapped a relative named Onyebuchi who had gone to pay the final tranche of $20,000 ransom.
“Evans told my wife to take me to the hospital and that if I should die, he will kill her. I had to be flown abroad for treatment,” Ahamonu said.
He said that he was released alongside Onyebuchi.
Ahamonu noted that he crossed paths with Evans again after the alleged kingpin was captured and held in police custody when the police announced that anyone ever kidnapped by Evans should come to identify him.
“When I saw him, he started begging for forgiveness, he told everyone the amount of money he received from me, how he treated me.
While being cross-examined by Evans’ defence counsel Mr Victor Opara (SAN), Ahamonu said that he never met Evans prior to his ordeal.
He said when he was accosted by the gang and told that he was wanted by SARS/authorities, he initially did not panic because he is a law-abiding citizen.
On raising the funds for the ransom, he said that he has a very large family as well as a lot of friends who were fearful and anxious for his wellbeing and they provided funds.
While being cross-examined by counsel to Aduba, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, the businessman said that the abduction occurred on Kara Road off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
After the testimonies of Ahamonu and his wife, the prosecutor announced that the state will be closing its case against Evans and Aduba.
Subsequently, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until February 4, 2022, for Evans and his accomplice to open defence.
Reporting by Wahab Akinlade; editing by Muzha Kucha