Evans In Tears, Pleads For Mercy As He Faces Fresh Charges

Alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans, broke down in tears on Monday before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, where he was arraigned on fresh two charges of kidnapping.

After initially refusing to come down from the prison van in protest, he was eventually brought into the courtroom by warders on the order of Justice Adedayo Akintoye.

Stepping into the courtroom bare-footed and in handcuffs, Evans, who wore a pair of shorts and a green T-shirt torn on the shoulder with sand stain on the back, immediately indicated to the judge that he had something to say.

“I have an explanation to make,” he said. “Since I have been in the maximum prison, they have been maltreating me; no visit, they don’t feed me well, I have eye problem and I can not see afar.”

But he was countered by one of the prison officials who maintained that Evans was being given the same treatment as other inmates.

“We have been treating him very well; he is well fed and people have been visiting him.

“A doctor has been checking him; the doctor came to check him yesterday (Sunday) and even this morning, before coming to court; because he was saying he can’t be in court, that he is not feeling fine.

“But when the doctor checked him yesterday (Sunday) and this morning, the doctor said he was healthy and that he saw no reason why he shouldn’t be in court,” the prison official said.

But Evans said he was only seen by a nurse and not a doctor.

Counsel for the second defendant, Ogedi Ogbu, told the court that his client, Joseph Emeka, had also made the same complaints to him.

But the Lagos State Director of Prosecutions, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said Evans was only making up an excuse, urging the court not to buy it.

“That was the same thing he said before an Ikeja High Court and we wrote the prisons and they wrote us back that he was being taken care of like every other inmate,” Shitta-Bey said.

Reacting, Justice Akintoye directed the prison officials to ensure that Evans and his co-defendants were treated like other inmates, noting that they were still presumed innocent.

On the request of Evans’ lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, who had earlier written to the court, praying that the case be stood down, the judge stood the case down.

But as soon as the judge rose, Evans broke down in tears.

“What have I done to you people? They have been beating me; no good food; I have been locked up in one place since August 30 last year; why are they taking my case personally? Let me face my trial alive, why do you people want to kill me,” he said, sobbing.

About then, his lawyer, Ogungbeje, came into the courtroom and began to pacify him.
The defendants were eventually arraigned on the fresh charges.

Evans was arraigned alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba. The charges border on “conspiracy and unlawful capture.”

The state alleged in the charges that the defendants conspired with some persons still at large to “unlawfully capture one Uche Okorafor on the 21st of November 2014, at Festac Town, Lagos; and demanded a random of $2m.”

The DPP said they acted contrary to sections 409 and 269 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011, adding that they were liable to punishment under the same law.

But they pleaded not guilty.

Justice Akintoye adjourned till May 25, 2018 for commencement of trial.

UPDATE: Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Innoson Chairman

An Ikeja Special Offences Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Innocent Chukwuma, alias Innoson, the Chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Mojisola Dada issued the bench warrant following the failure of the defendant to appear in court for the second time for arraignment on criminal charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“A bench warrant is hereby served on Innocent Chukwuma, he will remain in custody till the next adjourned date.

“The case is adjourned till March 14 for possible arraignment,” Justice Dada said.

Earlier, during the proceedings, a mild drama ensued in the courtroom, with Justice Dada threatening to charge Prof. J. N Mbadugha, the defence counsel for Innoson and Innoson Motors Ltd, for contempt of court.

Charles Chukwuma, a third defendant who was not present in court, had no legal representation.

Justice Dada issued the threat against Mbadugha following his alleged disrespectful conduct and outburst against the court in his opening address.

Mbadugha in his address had shouted: “This proceeding is a clear abuse of court processes, the EFCC is a reckless arbiter.

“My Lord has refused to be bound by the rule of law and doesn’t want to be bound by the doctrine of Stare Decisis; my Lord wants to override the decision of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Dada, in response, said: “Your whole comportment, conduct, countenance smacks of disrespect to the court and rule of law, I will report you to the Nigerian Bar Association.

“You are insulting the court, this is clear contempt in the face of the court; you will go to prison from here, if you think the court is defenceless and powerless, you’d be surprised.”

Mbadugha, who initially said he was ready to be charged for contempt, later tendered an apology to the court, saying: “I am sorry My Lord, I hope the court gives me a second opportunity.

“I want to urge the court to temper justice with mercy; to err is human, but to forgive is divine.”

The defence counsel apologised to the court saying he had withdrawn his earlier statements.

NAN

Corruption Charges: Arraignment Of Justice Yinusa Stalled

The planned arraignment of a dismissed judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yinusa failed to go on at the Lagos High Court Sitting in Ikeja today.

A Registrar of the court told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) that Justice Mojisola Dada would not be hearing the case and had, in fact, sent the case file back to the Chief Judge of Lagos for re-assignment to another judge.

No reason was given for this development.

It was gathered that Justice Dada is the second judge to decline on hearing the case.

The first is Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.

Despite the arraignment being stalled, Justice Yinusa was present in court but left immediately he heard that the matter would not go on. His co-defendant, Esther Agbo, a staff of the Law Firm of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Rickey Tarfa was however absent in court.

Journalists obtained a copy of the five count charge sheet.

In the first Count, Justice Yinusa is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by engaging in constant private and confidential telephone communications with Mr Rickey Tarfa, SAN during a period he presided over two of the Senior advocate’s matter.

In the second count, Justice Yinusa is charged with corruption for allegedly receiving the sum of N1.5millio paid to him by his co-defendant, Esther Agbo in other to give decisions in favour of the Chambers of the Law Firm of Rickey Tarfa.

In the third count, Justice Yinusa is charged with agreeing to receive financial benefit from another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Joseph Nwobike in other to give favourable decisions in the cases of the said lawyer before him.

In count four, the EFCC alleged that Justice Yinusa received the sum of N750,000 from Mr Nwobike and in the fifth charge, Esther Agbo is charged with offering gratification of NI.5m to Justice Yinusa in order to induce him to give decisions in favour of the Law Chambers of Rickey Tarfa.