A no-case motion by Victor Aduba, who was arraigned alongside kidnap mastermind Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, at a Lagos State Special Offences Court in the Ikeja region, was dismissed.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ruled on Friday that the state government had proved a prima facie case linking the defendant to the crime, necessitating the defendant’s opening of his defense.
The Lagos State Government charged Aduba, a former Nigerian Army soldier, and Evans with kidnapping a businessman named Sylvanus Ahamonu and demanding a $420,000 ransom from his family.
They both denied the charge and pleaded not guilty.
Aduba’s lawyer, Emmanuel Ochai, contended in his no-case submission plea that the prosecution had failed to build a prima facie case against him. He requested that the case against his client be dismissed.
Yusuf Sule, the prosecutor, urged the court to evaluate whether the evidence he presented was adequate to link the defendant to the alleged crimes.
“I have carefully reviewed the submissions of the prosecution and the defense,” Justice Taiwo said in her ruling on the application on Friday.
“The court, at this stage, is not to review evidence of the prosecution but to see whether the prosecution has enough evidence before the court to warrant the defendant to defend himself.
“Evidence of the prosecution shows that it has sufficiently proven a prima facie case against the defendant and the defendant has a case to answer.
“I hereby dismiss the application of the defence, and order that the defendant should open his defence,” the judge held.
From the Beginning
Sylvanus and his wife, Chimebere Ahamonu, testified virtually in December 2021 about Evans and his gang abducting him on June 23, 2014, on Kara Road off Osolo Way in Ajao Estate, Lagos.
The couple described how they tried to raise the original $2 million ransom sought by Evans by selling homes, borrowing money, and soliciting donations from family and well-wishers.
Sylvanus said his hands and legs were chained during his two months in captivity and that he was only freed when his family paid Evans the $420,000 ransom. He claimed he was on the verge of dying at this point.
Evans, the first defendant in the case, began his defense on February 4, 2022, by denying kidnapping Ahamonu and demanding $420,000 in ransom from the businessman’s family.
Evans and two others were sentenced to life in prison on February 25, 2022, for the kidnapping of Donatus Dunu, the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited.
The court found insufficient evidence to link the lone woman in the group, Ogechi Uchechukwu, to the office, and she and two other former Nigerian Army soldiers, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, were acquitted and released.
Evans, on the other hand, is still facing four more kidnapping counts before various Lagos High Court justices.