Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, has denied kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu, and collecting a $420,000 ransom from his family.
He made the denial on Friday while answering questions under cross-examination by the Lagos State government’s prosecutor, Mr Yusuf Sule.
Evans is standing trial at the Lagos Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja alongside an ex-soldier, Victor Aduba, on a four-count charge of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
At the proceedings on Friday, Evans, a native of Nnewi in Anambra State, told the court that he was born on April 22, 1980. He vehemently denied knowing Ahamonu before his arrest.
When the prosecutor noted that Ahamonu had identified him when he testified virtually (via the Zoom app) in court, Evans said he was easily identifiable.
“I do not know Slyvanus Ahamonu, I only met him in the IG’s (Inspector-General of Police) Guest House at Falomo,” the defendant stated. “One day at the IG Guest House, the police brought some documents and asked me to sign, I asked what the documents are for, but they didn’t answer me.
“They said that if I don’t cooperate with them, they will kill me. When I refused, Inspector Philip asked them to take me to the back of the guest house. When I got there, they were pressing cigarette butts on my body.
“They killed about six persons in my presence, and I eventually signed the document; I was not allowed to read it. I think it is the document that was used to bring me to court.
“I do not know anything about the allegations before this court. I don’t know who Ahamonu is. I only met him at the IG’s guest house, I had not had any prior contact with him. Ahamonu and Idowu Haruna (the Investigating Police Officer) could have conspired.
“My pictures are everywhere, all over the world. Before my picture was everywhere, people knew who I was. I had a haulage and logistics business with over 30 staff and drivers in Amuwo-Odofin.”
The suspected kidnap kingpin also testified that he was tortured by the police, although he could not provide medical documents in proof of his claim to the court.
He explained that while he was incarcerated, he had filed a fundamental human rights suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos against the police over the alleged torture.
On why he was seen in a jovial mood in the video detailing his confession of the crimes to the police, Evans said he was forced to act in that manner by the police.
“The police told me to be laughing and smiling in the video,” the defendant stated. “You do not know what I encountered in the hands of Abba Kyari and his boys. My eyes saw hell. It was what they told me to be doing that I was doing.”
Evans also told the court that no firearms were discovered in his home by the police.
After listening to Evans’ testimony, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case till March 11 for the continuation of trial.
Sylvanus and his wife, Chimebere Ahamonu, had testified virtually In December last year about how Evans and his gang kidnapped him on June 23, 2014, on Kara Road off Osolo Way in the Ajao Estate area of Lagos.
The couple narrated how they sold properties, borrowed money, raised funds from family and well-wishers in an attempt to raise the initial $2 million ransom that was allegedly demanded by Evans.
Sylvanus who said his hands and legs were chained throughout his two months in captivity said he was only released when the family paid Evans the $420,000 ransom.
He added that by the time, he was at the point of death.