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#EndSARS protest stalls Evans trial

Published by The Nation on Wed, 14 Oct 2020

By Adebisi OnanugaOfficials of Kirikiri Maximum Security Correctional Centre on Wednesday failed to produce kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans and his co-defendants before an Ikeja Special Offences Court to answer charges of kidnapping brought against them by the state.It was gathered the fear of possible attack by those who might want to take advantage of the #EndSARS protests made the officials of the Correctional Center to stay away from all courts in Lagos.Evans and co-defendants were initially scheduled to appear before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo yesterday in continuation of their trial.They are facing two separate charges of kidnapping and murder before Justice Taiwos court.The two charges were listed as number 10 and 12 in the courts cause list for Wednesday.But neither the prosecution nor the defence came to court.Enquiry from the court registrar showed that the two cases would not go on as scheduled.It was learnt that the Correctional Centres had communicated to the court that they would not bring the defendants, citing the unrest in the city occasioned by the widespread #EndSARS protest.They are afraid of hijack by protesters, the court register noted.When contacted, the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Adeyinka Adeyemi confirmed the development to The Nation.Read Also:#EndSARS protesters defy rain, shut Lekki toll gate againThe parking space reserved for the ban of the Correctional Centres was empty while the holding cells for keeping inmates on the court premises were empty.Judicial officials at the holding cells said the NCS had not brought any inmate to court since Monday.NCS spokesman in Lagos, Rotimi Oladokun, couldnt react as his mobile phone number was unavailable.In one of the two charges before Justice Taiwo, the Lagos DPP accused Evans and three others of killing two persons, in their failed attempt to kidnap the Chairman of Young Shall Grow Motors, Obianodo Vincent on August 27, 2013.According to the prosecution, the criminal operation took place at about 11pm on Third Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.Those murdered in the botched kidnap operation were identified as Peter Nweke and Chijioke Ngozi.Evans was said to have carried out the operation in company of Joseph Emeka, Chiemeka Arinze and Udeme Upong.The seven counts against them border on attempted murder, murder, kidnapping and illegal firearms deal.In the second charge, Evans, one Victor Aduba and four others still at large were accused of conspiring among themselves to kidnap one Sylvanus Hafia at about 5.30pm on June 23, 2014 at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.The prosecution alleged that they captured and detained Hafia and demanded a $2m ransom from his family.The defendants, whose trial started since 2017, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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