Oladimeji Ramon

The trial of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, and his co-defendants before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere was stalled on Wednesday due to the non-appearance of one of the defence counsel, Emmanuel Ochai.

Ochai’s colleague, Ogedi Ogu, said he did not know exactly why Ochai was not in court, suggesting that his absence might be connected with the boycott directive given to all lawyers by the Nigerian Bar Association to protest the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ogu pleaded with Justice Adedayo Akintoye to further adjourn the case, which he described as sensitive and needed the presence of all defence counsel.

The prosecuting counsel for the state, Jide Martins, did not oppose the prayer for adjournment.

Consequently, Justice Akintoye adjourned further proceedings till March 1.

Evans was arraigned alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.

The charges border on “conspiracy and unlawful capture.”

The state alleged in the charges that the defendants conspired with some persons still at large, to “unlawfully capture one Uche Okorafor, on the 21st of November 2014, at Festac Town, Lagos and demanded a random of $2m dollars.”

The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions said they acted contrary to sections 409 and  269 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011, adding that they were liable to punishment under the same law.

But they pleaded not guilty.

Copyright PUNCH.