There was a drama at the Lagos State High Court Igbosere on Monday as suspected billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans raised alarm over plot to kill him before the end of his trial .
Evans emerged from the Prison van commonly called ‘black maria,’ came to court barefooted and was wearing a torn green Tee shirt and a pair of shorts.
He had earlier refused to alight down from the Black Maria vehicle which conveyed him and other suspects to the court.
This prompted the judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, to order the prison warders to bring him into the courtroom.
When he eventually came down, Evans was handcuffed into the courtroom and led to the dock.
While in the dock, he raised his hand and told the judge that he had something to say.
When he was allowed to speak, the suspected kidnapper told Justice Akintoye that he was not being treated well in prison.
He said: “I have an explanation to make. Since I have been in the maximum prison, they have been maltreating me; no visit, they don’t feed me well. I have an eye problem and I cannot see far.”
The warder from Kirikiri Maximum Prison, however, denied these claims.
He told the court that Evans receives care like every other inmate, and he has been seeing a doctor since he complained about his health.
The warder said, “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.
“He was saying he can’t be in court that he is not feeling fine, but when the doctor checked him yesterday and this morning, the doctor said he was healthy and that he sees no reason why he can’t be in court”.
Evans, then interrupted the prison warder, claiming it was a nurse that came to check him and not a doctor. He added that was only allowed one visit.
The kidnap suspect is facing trial alongside three others, Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba on two counts of conspiracy and unlawful capture.
Meanwhile, a counsel to one of the other defendants also told the court that his client had similar complaints.
In the charge sheet, the Lagos State government said Evans alongside the three defendants and some others who are still at large, allegedly conspired amongst themselves and unlawfully captured one Uche Okorafor on November 21, 2014, at Festac Town, Lagos, after which they demanded a ransom of $2million.
According to the prosecution, the offences committed are Punishable Under Sections 409 and 269 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.
In her response to the alleged maltreatment of the defendants, the Lagos State Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said that Evans was just making it up.
She also told the court that the suspect is being treated well in prison while a doctor has been attending to him.
“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 noted.
‘Let Me Face My Trial Alive’
Justice Akintoye, on her part, ordered the prison authorities to ensure that Evans was well taken care of like the other inmates.
She also stated that the defendants were still presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The judge further stood down the matter pending when Evan’s counsel, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, would be present in court.
This followed a letter sent in by Ogungbeje before the proceedings that the court should stand down the case as he was on his way, a request Shitta-Bey objected while stating that it could be another tactic to delay the matter.
The court, however, acceded to Ogungbeje request and the matter was stood down.
After the court rose, Evans broke down in tears, decrying his alleged poor treatment in the prison facility.
“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.
“Why are they taking my case personal? Let me face my trial alive, why do you people want to kill me?” he lamented.
The suspect continued this even when his lawyer, Ogungbeje, finally arrived in court and tried to pacify him.
Following Ogungbeje’s arrival, the court reconvened, and Evans was arraigned on fresh five charges bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder.
He was arraigned alongside three others, Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
After their fresh arraignment, the court subsequently adjourned till May 25 for trial.