By Onozure Dania
A Police Inspector, Idowu Haruna, yesterday told a Lagos High court sitting at Igbosere, how suspected kidnap kingpin Chukwuemeka Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, regretted the atrocities he committed and kept asking God for forgiveness of his sins.
Haruna, who was giving evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of Evans and three others
in two separate charges bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder told Justice Adedayo Akintoye that Evans admitted kidnapping and killing people in his statement.
Evans has however disowned his statement saying he made it under duress following his torture by his interrogators. The court therefore ordered a trial within trial before proceeding with the substantive charge.
At the hearing yesterday, the counsel to the first and third defendants Mr Noel Brown told the court that he could not go on with the trial, as the lead counsel Mr Chino Ogbiagwu SAN, was with the case file and asked for adjournment.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye however insisted that the trial must go on, as the counsel had been part of the defense team since the commencement of the trial.
At the trial within trial yesterday, the police inspector said “on the day I recorded Evans’ statement, I cautioned him and asked if he had a lawyer who could guide him before writing his statement but he said no and that he was ready to narrate the whole story to the police.
“Evans said he didn’t have any lawyer and didn’t know anyone because of the kind of job he did. And the only thing he kept saying was for God to forgive him his sins because he has kidnapped and killed”.
According to the witness, Evans in his statement to the police said that he had four AK47 rifles, two pistols and chains which he used on his victims as well as a Lexus Jeep he used in kidnapping his victims to their hideout at 21, Prophet Asaje Close Igando Lagos.
Haruna, who is a member of the Inspector General of Police Intelligent Response Team, is the seventh prosecution witness, in the second charge, involving Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.
He said that Evans narrated to the police that he was the only one who negotiated for ransom and also arranged how to pick the ransom. Evans did not involve the other members of the gang in the negotiation and only gave them small portion of the ransom.
Evans also told the police that he usually used the fourth defendant, Victor Aduba a serving Army Officer as an escort during operation in order to have free passage on their way to their hideout.
According to Haruna, Evans further said hat he was the leader of the gang and that the gang started operation since 1997. They were involved in kidnapping, and armed robbery in different parts of the country, as they had no other job.
Haruna who was being led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution Titilayo Shitta-Bey, told the court that when Evans was arrested, he gave the police information that led to the arrest of the other defendants.
He also said that the first defendant informed the police that the job of the third defendant Linus Okpara, was to look for victims and would then give him information before the victims were kidnapped.
The witness said that Evans was never tortured, as it was against the ethics of the Nigeria Police Force.
The defendants had through their counsel Mr Noel Brown, Ogedi Ogu and Emmanuel Ochai, informed the court that their statements were not voluntary as they were beaten and tortured before the statements were taken.
The second defendant Joseph Emeka, in the open court told his counsel Ogu, that he was beaten to stupor, before his statement was taken.
The Inspector, who said that the defendants’ statements were taken at Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS Ikeja Lagos, added that none of them was tortured, nor were they put under duress, when they volunteered their statements.