Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on Friday ordered alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans to get a lawyer or he will have to defend himself.
Justice Oshodi gave the order at the continue trial of Evans and five over a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping.
They were alleged to have kidnapped the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Ltd, Donatius Dunu.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Evans informed the judge that his defence counsel had stopped representing him in court.
The defendant stated, “My former lawyer is no longer appearing in this matter. My people have gone to the chambers of Victor Okpara to urged him to represent me.”
A visibly angry Justice Oshodi noted that Evans had changed his defence counsel four times during trial, an action which has slowed the pace of proceedings.
“The first defendant (Evans) informed the court that his lawyer has left and that his people have gone to approach Okpara’s chamber.
“If the first defendant is not represented in the next adjourned date, he will have to conduct his defence himself. The first defendant has himself changed counsel four times during proceedings.
“The first defendant should take this as a warning. This is my ruling on this matter,” Justice Oshodi said.
Evans has had four defence counsel during the course of the trial including: Olukoya Ogungbeje, Noel Brown and Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
All the others defendants in the case: Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba, were represented by their lawyers.
The counsel to Evan’s five co-defendants informed the court that they had filed their respective no-case submissions and had served copies of the court processes to the prosecution.
The state prosecutor, Adebayo Haroun, confirmed receipt of copies of the no-case submissions and said that the prosecution will file their response on March 16.
The six defendants were arraigned on Aug. 30, 2017 on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping.
According to the prosecution, the defendants allegedly kidnapped Dunu along Ilupeju Road, Lagos on Feb. 14, 2017 and collected 223,000 Euros (N100m) as ransom from his family.
The pharmaceutical boss, allegedly still held captive by the defendants because his family had not paid additional money to the ransom already collected, escaped captivity and alerted the police.
Four witnesses including Dunu have testified during the trial on behalf of the prosecution and on Jan. 10, the prosecution closed its case against the defendants.
The case was adjourned to April 3 for hearing of the no-case submissions.