The lead Attorney to the suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has accused the police of making his client to plead guilty when he was arraigned at an Ikeja high court on Wednesday.
He said the suspect was forced to plead guilty to the offences, claiming that he was never allowed to have consultations with him until Wednesday morning when he was brought to court.
In a press statement issued and signed by Ogungbeje, he noted : “After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose. We stressed to have brief discussion time with our client and ‘he told us clearly that the police told him to plea guilty failure to which the police will kill him.
“This is definitely unconstitutional and we intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure for hoodwink, undue influence, brainwashing and coercing on an accused into entering a guilty plea against his wish and freewill.
“He pointedly told us that being informed now, he will change his ‘police motivated guilty plea’ to ‘not guilty’ at the next adjourned date.
“It is settled law that plea of guilty must be made voluntary and direct devoid of any influence, coercion and manipulation.
“In the meantime, after our brief conferring with our client in open court, he made it known to us that he will change his police motivated guilty plea to not guilty at the next adjourned date. We have a responsibility to assist the cause of justice in accordance with the law.”
“The information/charge sheet was served on us in open court hence, the need to confer with our client to enable us avail ourselves with the constitutional right of adequate time and facility to put up our defence,” Ogungbeje said in a statement.
“The court, after turning down our plea for adjournment, immediately ordered that the counts charges be read to him and others despite our plea for the adjournment to enable us confer with our client in accordance with the law.
“After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose, we stressed to have brief discussion time with our client and he told us clearly that the police told him to plead guilty failure to which they would kill him.
The suspected kidnapper who is also known as Evans alongside two of the five suspects arraigned with him, pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy brought against them.
Evans was arraigned alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba.
Hakeem Oshodi, the judge who presided over the case, had ordered that they be remanded in Kirikiri prison.
Oshodi adjourned the matter till October 19.
However, Ogunbeje said the plea would be changed to not guilty at the next court sitting.