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Evans to open defence in victim’s suit over ransom

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
30 June 2022   |   2:42 am
Justice Kayode Ogunjobi of a Lagos High Court, sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), has fixed July 13, for the convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (popularly known as Evans),

Evans

Justice Kayode Ogunjobi of a Lagos High Court, sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), has fixed July 13, for the convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (popularly known as Evans), to open his defence.

The trial judge ordered Evans to open defence in a suit filed by a victim, Chief Donatus Duru, demanding the return of £223,000, which he paid as ransom, while in Evans’ custody.

The claimant in a suit filed in 2018 is also demanding the sum of N50 million as damages.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the defence counsel, Mr. Maxwell Chukwuemeka, after announcing his appearance for the defendant (Evans), told the court that he had filed two applications before the court.

He told the court that the applications were for a change of counsel and an amendment of the defendant’s statement of defence.

Chukwuemeka was seeking to represent the defendant, as he just appeared for the defendant.

Responding, the claimant’s counsel, Mr. D. O. Obiora, told the court that the defendant has been changing counsel, but did not oppose the applications.

Obiora stressed that the court had in a ruling on May 23, granted leave to the defendant to file his statement of defence, noting that the defendant has not done so, but is seeking leave to amend its defence.

The trial judge, however, granted the two applications, but the court expressed dismay the case had suffered many adjournments.

“This matter has suffered several adjournments. The delay is hurting everybody and adding expenses to the state. We have been here since 2018 at the instance of the defendant.

“ I awarded a cost of N2.5 million because the delay was unwarranted. If there is a further delay, I will award another cost, because I don’t see why you have an application to amend your statement of defence and you didn’t come with the amended statement to file it,” the court ruled.

The judge subsequently adjourned to July 13 for Evans to open his defence.

Recall that a Lagos High Court sentenced Evans and two of his two accomplices, Uchenna Amadi and Okechukwolu Nwachukwu to life imprisonment for conspiracy and kidnapping of a businessman, Donatus Duru, the managing director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The claimant had instituted the suit on May 16, 2018, and served the defendant through the Comptroller General of Prison, Kirikiri Correctional centre, Lagos, demanding the return of £223,000, which he paid as ransom to Evans.