By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere yesterday, ruled that suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans and others have case to answer on two separate charges filed against them by the Lagos State Government .
The two separate charges bordered on kidnapping, possession of firearms, murder and attempted murder.
Evans had on October 23 rebuffed attempt by the state government to arraign him and others on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges.
Inability of the court then to take Evans’ plea and those of the other defendants made Justice Taiwo to adjourn the matter then.
One of the charges preferred against Evans and others included an attempted kidnap of the Chairman of The Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Amaechi Obianodo.
Evans and second defendant, Victor Nonso Aduba, are standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Also, he and three others are facing seven counts of conspiracy, attempted kidnapping, kidnapping, murder and attempted murder The second to fourth defendants are Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze and Udeme Frank Upong.
Justice Taiwo, in her ruling, yesterday, described the applications as misconceived and lacking in merit.
The judge held that the proof of evidence filed by the state in support of the charges disclosed sufficient material worth pursuing by the prosecuting counsel.
The dismissal of the applications paved the way for Evans’ arraignment on two fresh charges.
However, the prosecution could only arraign Evans and Aduba in the first charge. Their pleas were taken on four counts of conspiracy, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms, but they pleaded not guilty.
While the prosecution led by Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, could not arraign Evans and three others in the second charge.
The prosecution amended the second charge without attaching proof of evidence to it, which made the defendants’ counsel to raised objection. Evans and others defendants prayed the court to strike out the charge for lack of competence.
Mr. Kazeem however, opposed the application on the ground that filing of charge was in line with laid down rules.
Justice Taiwo in her ruling on the fresh application of the defendants agreed with Evans and the others that failure of the prosecution not to attach proof of evidence to the new charge was a blunder that couldn’t be overlooked by the court. The court held that for the new charge to be deemed proper before the court, the prosecution must follow the due process.
Justice Taiwo, therefore, ordered prosecution to serve proof of evidence on the defendants, in order to proceed on the arraignment of the defendants.
He then fixed December 15 for the prosecution to open its case in the first charge, while the plea of the defendants will also be taken on the same date.