… ‘Evans’ll not escape justice’
Lagos State government has said that the fate of the general overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugu, better known as Rev. King, who is currently on death row, would be determined soon.
Ezeugu has been awaiting the hangman’s noose since his conviction was okayed by the Supreme Court in February 2016.
A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court, led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, in an unanimous judgement, upheld the death sentence that was earlier handed to Ezeugo by the Lagos State High Court.
Ezeugo, who was arraigned on September 26, 2006, on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder, was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging on January 11, 2007, for the alleged murder of his church member, Ann Uzoh.
Attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said Ezeugo’s case would be considered like others that had been convicted by the court.
His words: “The truth of the matter is that the case of Rev. King, as high-profile as it could be, is just one of the other cases that are on death row. The case of the clergy would be considered like others that had been convicted by the court.”
He added: “If and at any point in time it gets to the stage where the sentence, which was imposed by the court, is to be carried out, it will be carried out. If he’s worthy of clemency, that will be given to him. But we haven’t gotten to that stage now. So, he could continue to cool his heels in prison,” he said.
Fielding questions on the case of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, which happened in September 2014, the commissioner said while the wheels of justice may move slowly, no criminal would go unpunished in the state.
He said, “The wheels of justice move slowly, especially when it is a high-profile case. As you know, that case has been on for a couple of years. Only recently, the prosecution closed its case. And, usually, when the prosecution closes it case, the defence counsel is expected to open his. Rather than do this, the defence counsel filed a no-case submission, claiming that the state government has made no case against the clergy.
“They lost that no-case submission. They have been instructed to open their defence so that the matter can move forward. I believe that, very soon, the case will come to conclusion.”
On the matter of the suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans, Kazeem noted with delight that it was gratifying that the case was progressing in court, assuring that no criminal would go unpunished in the state and no effort would be spared in ensuring the logical conclusion of the case.
He said: “On the Evans matter, the cases filed against him are ongoing in court. The issue is that the lawyer representing him is trying to play some games to delay the matter but in all his games we have been defeating him in court.”
While reeling out activities of the agencies under the ministry in the last one year, the attorney-general lamented the rise in domestic abuse against men.
“The ministry has noted an increase in reports of domestic abuse against men. To date, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Response Team has received a total of 138 cases in this regard. Overall, a total number of 1,771 cases were reported during the period under review,” he said.
Kazeem added that government also received 316 inquiries through the recently unveiled state-owned DNA and forensic centre with 71 active cases ongoing bordering on homicide, rape, toxicology, child trafficking and serology, among others.
Similarly Kazeem said the Anti-Land Grabbers Task Force designed by the present administration to fight the menace of forceful take-over of properties received 1,300 petitions out of which 855 were concluded and 530 are currently at various stages of resolution.
“In the period under review, over 35 arrests of suspected notorious land-grabbers were effected while 26 criminal prosecution cases against suspected land-grabbers are presently ongoing,” the attorney-general said.
Through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre, the commissioner said his office received a total of 47,292 new cases free of charge, out of which 25,191 were resolved, with others at various stages of resolution.
“The total value of settlement of debt-related matters achieved by the centre during the period under review from May 2017 to April 2018 was N1,352,745,391,” the attorney-general said.