Infamous billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike also known as Evans, has pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy levelled against them by the Lagos State government at the continuation of his trial at the Lagos high court, Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, October 19, 2017.
The government had Evans was arraigned alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba on August 30,2017 before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court, where three of them pleaded guilty, except Uchechukwu, the only female defendant, Ifeanyi and Aduba who pleaded not guilty.
Evans and his accomplices were accused of committing the offence of conspiracy and kidnapping of one Duru Donatius at about 7.45pm on February 14 on Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos.
The defendants were also accused of collecting a ransom of 223,000 euros before Donatius could be released.
However there was a mild drama while the prosecution was being re-arraigned on an amended charge yesterday, Evans and co-defendants changed their plea.
This comes despite the fact that the billionaire kidnapper had initially pleaded ‘guilty’ at his first trial appearance
In the amended charge, the defendants, who were remanded in prison by the court after the earlier arraignment are still facing a two-count charge offence bordering on conspiracy and kidnapping. The defendants who were earlier charged under Sections 411 and 271(3) Criminal Law Cap C17 Laws of Lagos State 2015 are now being charged Section 2(1) of the Kidnapping Prohibition Law, No 13, Laws of Lagos State 2017.
After this, all the defence counsel urged the court for adjournment to enable them respond to the amended charge just served on them. Justice Oshodi, citing section 36 of the Constitution granted their prayer and adjourned the matter till November 3 for trial.
For the high-profile trial, two armored were placed at the two entrances to the court. Policemen were also strategically positioned at various corners of the courtroom.