A member of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, Insp. Idowu Haruna, on Friday narrated at an Ikeja High Court how Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, used a soldier as a decoy in his high profile criminal activities in Lagos.
Haruna, a policeman with 14-years experience, made the revelation at the ongoing trial of Evans and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, on four-counts of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Haruna’s hour-long testimony began at 2 p.m.
While being led in evidence by Mr Adebayo Haroun, the State Prosecutor, Haruna said: “The second defendant, Aduba was a member of the Nigerian Army.
“By the time the first defendant was arrested, he mentioned the name of the second defendant in his confessional statement.
“He said that whenever they had an operation, he will call Aduba and the army officer while wearing his full uniform, will seat at the front passenger seat of their vehicle so that they can pass through police road blocks with ease.”
Haruna noted that when the soldier was apprehended by authorities, he faced disciplinary procedures at the Abati Barracks, Yaba, Lagos, before he was handed over to the police for questioning.
The policeman in his testimony also told the court about Evan’s alleged criminal career.
“The first defendant has been into kidnapping and robbery for a very long time. He started in Edo State, when I worked there, we arrested about 10 members of his syndicate but he ran away to Lagos.
“Vincent Obianodo, the boss of Young Shall Grow Motors was his first victim in Lagos, during Obianodo’s attempted kidnap, members of his gang were killed but Evans ran away.
“Evans was in charge of providing the arms and ammunition for his gang. He led the operation for the kidnap of Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu. He was the pilot of the vehicle. He is the sole negotiator of all the demanded ransome.
“He never allows other members of his gang to negotiate with victims’ families. He collected a total of 420,000 dollars from Ahamonu’s family. $200,000 was personally received from Ahamonu’s family in two tranches.
“The remaining $20,000 was collected by Evans from the Ahamonu family for drinks for his boys.
“Aduba the dismissed army officer confessed to being involved in the kidnap of James Udoji, Ahamonu and one Ucheson, a businessman in Alaba Market,” he said.
The prosecution sought to tender the statements of Evans and Aduba as evidence.
However, Evans’ Defence Counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje and Emmanuel Ochai, Counsel to Aduba, objected on the grounds that the confessional statements were not voluntarily made.
Following the objection of the defence, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ordered a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the statements.
During the trial-within-trial, Haruna narrated to the court how the statements of the defendants were obtained by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) at Ikeja, Lagos.
“The statement of Evans was recorded by my team member Sgt. Julius Okundaiye in a very conducive office.
“He was seated on a chair. My team members and I were also there, no one offered him anything for his confession and he was not tortured, it was not given under duress.
“I was even cracking jokes with him and he was laughing and admitted that his time is up and nemesis had caught up with him.
“After recording the statement, the recorder signed and Evans counter-signed and he was taken to my superior, SP. Phillips, who read it aloud to him and he counter-signed it.
“The statement of Aduba was also recorded in the same SARS building at Ikeja by Insp. Christian Ogbu. He cooperated with the police, having been a member of the Nigerian Army.
“After giving the statement, it was signed and counter-signed by both him and the recorder. His statement was recorded freely and not under duress,” Haruna said.
Taiwo adjourned the case till July 4 for continuation of the trial-within-trial.