BY OKONKWO EZE
ONITSHA — IN continua-tion of his testimony in his own kidnap case, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of G.U.O. Motors Limited, Chief Godwin Okeke, yesterday, told an Onitsha High Court presided over by Justice Chudi Nwankwo how he managed to disarm one of his kidnappers, Emeka Eze (a.k.a Emeka Nando).
Emeka Eze is second-in-command of the gang that kidnapped him at the premises of the All Saints Anglican Church Cathedral, Onitsha, AnambraState on August 23, 2009.
Okeke recalled that they actually brutalized him with bites, hit him with machetes, gun butts and other objects all over his body and even shot him on his left leg while he was struggling with them at the kidnap point.
He said the serious injury he sustained, apart from the bullet shot, was the machete cut inflicted on him by Ifeanyi Okafor, the second defendant, on his left hand.
Okeke who disclosed this at the continuation of his cross-examination by D. U. Nwafor, counsel to second defendant, Ifeanyi Okafor, maintained that they attacked him with different types of weapons and even bit him when he disarmed Emeka Eze.
Okeke noted that the machete cut inflicted on him at their hideout by Okafor who became furious that he (Okeke) reduced his N1 billion earlier offer to only N30 million, was the one that gave him serious wound.
Vanguard further reports on his written statement at the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, headquarters, Awkuzu, dated January 8, 2010 in which Okeke wrote as follows: “They shot me on my left leg and gave me several machete cuts on my hand. My Lord, I told this court few minutes ago that they attacked me with several weapons, hit me all over the body and even bit me severally, but the only one that gave me this serious wound on my left hand was the second defendant’s machete cut.”
Responding to a question by the defence counsel, D. U. Nwafor who asked:”From the time you were kidnapped at All Saints Church to the time you were released, did any of them inflict any cut in your hand?” and he answered: “To the best of my knowledge, my Lord, it was only that cut from the second defendant that gave me a serious wound, but the second defendant is here and he is in a better position to tell the court how many cuts he gave me.”
The defence counsel then asked whether he made any statement to SARS at Awkuzu on January 8, 2010.
Okeke replied: “I made several statements at Awkuzu but I can’t remember their dates.”
Again, Nwafor asked him: “How many statements did you make to the police altogether,” to which he replied: “About four or five different statements but I can’t remember all their contents because all my kidnappers were arrested on different dates.”
At this stage, the defence counsel applied to tender a Certified True Copy, CTC, of Okeke’s statement to SARS dated January 8, 2010 as an exhibit, but the prosecution counsel, Chris Ajugwe, relying on Section 232 of the Evidence Act. 2011, raised an objection on the ground that the proper foundation had not been laid on tendering a previous statement as evidence in court, more so, when the defence counsel had not adduced any cogent reason for making such an application.
Justice Nwankwo who, however, admitted the statement as evidence which he marked as Exhibit ‘C’, said the statement so admitted might not play much role at this early stage, adding that it could only be considered during the stage of judgment writing.
The court, therefore, adjourned further hearing in the matter till today, Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5, for further cross-examinations of Okeke, the first Prosecution Witness, PW1, by both the second defence counsel, Nwafor and the third defence counsel, Chinelo Okongwu.