Court Jails Evans’ Co-defendant For 5 Years Over Sales of Firearms

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja on Friday convicted and sentenced Udeme Upong, one of the co-defendants standing trial alongside convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, to five years imprisonment.

Justice Taiwo handed down the verdict after Upong changed his plea to guilty.

The convict, Evans, Joseph Ikenna Emeka, and Chiemeka Arinze were arraigned before the court on a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to kidnap and selling of firearms by the state government on October 23, 2017.

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They were alleged to have attempted to kidnap the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Obianodo.

LEADERSHIP recalls that another judge of the court, Justices Hakeem Oshodi had on February 25, 2022, convicted and sentenced Evans And two others, Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu to life imprisonment.

In that case, which Upong was not a defendant, Evans and his co-convicts were jailed by Justice Oshodi on a two-count charge of kidnapping the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu.

The case before Justice Taiwo is one of the four other cases Evans is standing trial for.

At the last sitting of the court, the court was informed that one of the defendants, Chiemeka Arinze had died on November 26, 2021, as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest caused by AIDS.

When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, A. B. Josiah lawyer representing Upon, told the judge of his client intended to change his plea.

Subsequently, the judge ordered the state counsel to review the fact of the case.

While reviewing the fact, the prosecutor, Dr Babjide Martins told the court that the convict had admitted to the crime in his extrajudicial statement to the police after his arrest in 2017.

He stated that the convict had confessed that he sold two AK 47 and two hundred and seventy live ammunition to the convicted kidnap kingpin.

The lawyer claimed that the convict said he got the weapon from his village where they usually use it for inter-communal crises.

Martin further disclosed that the convict said that they agreed to N400k for the two ammunition but the defendant paid him N200k while sending one Emeka to collect the ammunition.

Dr Martin’s told the court that the defendant’s statement has been admitted in evidence.

He told the court that the defendant was charged under firearm act Section 92 and punishable under Section B, which stipulated a maximum of five years imprisonment for the offence.

The prosecutor, who stated that the convict has no previous convictions, urged the court to convict him accordingly

In his plea for mercy, the defence lawyer appealed to the court to see the change of the plea of the defendant as a remorseful act and that he had chosen not to continue to waste the time of the court and the taxpayer’s money

He further urged the court to consider the fact that the defendant has been in detention since July 6, 2017, which is almost the length of his sentence.

In his judgement, Justice Taiwo sentenced the defendant to five years imprisonment, which she held will start counting from the date he was remanded in prison.

15th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph