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Kidnapper, Evans sentenced to life imprisonment

Chukuwuememe Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, has been sentenced to life in prison by a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.

He and two other members of his gang, Uche Amadi and Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, were found guilty of conspiracy and kidnapping by Justice Hakeem Oshodi.

However, the court discharged and acquitted Ogechi Uchechukwu and two former Nigerian Army soldiers, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, for a lack of sufficient evidence linking them to the crime.

The judge determined that the prosecution had established beyond a reasonable doubt that the charges against the 3 convicts were true.

Justice Oshodi remarked that the evidence presented before the court, particularly the videos, corroborated the defendants’ culpability.

The judge had rejected the defence counsels’, Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku and Mr Haruna Ajibola, request for the court to temper justice with mercy, on the grounds that the prisoners are first-time offenders who are sorry and have learned their lesson.

He maintained that they were unrepentant and that they lied to the court with impunity.

The court ruled that under section 411 of the constitution, under which the offenders were arraigned, the penalty for kidnapping is life imprisonment, and the law gives the court no discretion in the matter.

On October 19, 2017, the Lagos State Government re-arraigned the accused.

Evans and his co-defendants – Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Aduba – are charged with kidnapping Mr Donatus Dunu, the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, on February 14, 2017.

Arrested in 2017

Evans, according to authorities, had eluded capture for seven years prior to his arrest on June 12, 2017, when a police special unit apprehended him at his Lagos residence.

He was alleged to have admitted to being involved for a number of high-profile kidnappings across the country, particularly in Lagos.

He has reportedly admitted to earning billions of naira from the abductions, charging some of his victims up to $1 million in ransom.

However, the kidnapper’s then-31-year-old wife, who married him at the age of 17, told the Vanguard newspaper in 2017 that she was unaware of her husband’s criminal activities.

Evans at a glance

Evans is a native of Nnewi, in Anambra State, and is commonly referred to as “The Billionaire Kidnapper” by the Police since they believe he is one of the wealthiest offenders involved in kidnapping in Nigeria.

The Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) identified him as an extremely cunning, crafty, and sophisticated kidnapper who avoided capture for four years despite being on a most-wanted list in 3 states, Lagos, Edo, and Anambra.

Reporting by Wahab Akinlade; Editing by Saadatu Albashir