Funke Busari, Lagos
The criminal trial pressed against alleged kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwiamadike alias Evans, and a dismissed army officer, Victor Aduba is still ongoing, but it suffered a setback on Wednesday over the non appearance of prosecution witnesses.
The defendants are charged with four counts of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
In the first case on today before an Ikeja Special Offences Court presided by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, two defendants, ‘Evans’ and Victor Aduba, are facing trial for alledgedly holding Mr. Sylvanus Ahamonu for not less than nine weeks and were said to have collected a ransom of 420,000 dollars from his family.
When two trials came up on today, the State prosecutor, O.A Bajulaiye-Bishi informed the court that the prosecution was unable to serve the summons issued to the witness due to testify because of the ill health of the lead prosecutor, Mr. Yusuf Sule.
The defence counsel to Evans, Mr. Victor Okpara, acknowledged that the prosecutor had told him of the development.
“Our learned friend did communicate her predicament to me in the morning.
“However, if there is a repeat of this scenario on the next adjourned date I will have to make the necessary applications to the court,” Okpara said.
Evans’ and three alleged accomplices, Joseph Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze and Udeme Upong are also standing trial over the attempted kidnap of Chief Vincent Obianodo, the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors before the same judge.
In the second matter, the defendants face a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sale and transfer of firearms.
When the second case was called, Bajulaiye-Bishi, informed the court that the witness Inspector Idowu Haruna, Investigating Police Officer, IPO, who was due to continue his testimony in the trial-within-trial was unavailable.
The prosecutor told the court that the IPO was on an official assignment and expects that he should be in court on the next court date.
The judge reminded the parties of the slow pace of proceedings as regards the two cases before her since 2017.
“This case (the Obianodo kidnap trial) is for the continuation of the trial-within-trial. It appears the prosecution is not ready with their witness.
“The court grants the prosecution a last chance to put its house in order.
“Both cases are adjourned until April 5 for the continuation of hearing,” Justice Taiwo said.
Recall that Evans is also facing two trials for kidnap before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court and Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court.
Meanwhile, the prime suspect is yet to open his defence in all the trials.