A drama unfolded during the trial of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans at an Ikeja High Court, when the judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, ordered Evans’ new counsel to write and sign an undertaking to finish the criminal case.
Justice Oshodi gave the order to Mr Oyekunle Falabi on Friday after delivering a ruling on the no-case submissions filed by Evans’ four co-defendants.
Falabi is however from the law chambers of Okpara and Co.
Since the trial began on Aug. 30, 2017, before Falabi, Evans has changed lawyers five times. Some of the lawyers who have represented Evans include; Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, Mr Noel Brown and Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
Following the ruling on the no-case submissions, Falabi had told the court that the chambers of Victor Okpara and Co were just briefed about the case the previous day.
Upon hearing that the name of Falabi’s law chamber, Justice Oshodi said, “Okpara your principal, once delayed a trial in my court for two-years. I will never forget it. You must write an undertaking”.
The judge immediately dictated in open court, the words to an undertaking which Falabi wrote and signed which is to ensure that he or the law chambers do not abandon the case during the trial.
The wordings of the undertaking are, “I, Oyekunle Falabi, representing the law firm of Victor Okpara undertake on behalf of the first defendant (Evans) in suit no ID/590761 to represent him in defence of this matter at all times when the matter comes up in Justice Oshodi’s Court.
“In the event of any breach of this undertaking, the court is at liberty to report us to our national body, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)”.
After Falabi wrote the undertaking, Justice Oshodi ordered that the document should be witnessed and signed by the Lagos State Solicitor-General, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey who was representing the prosecution.
Following the signing of the undertaking by Shitta-Bey, the lawyers for Evans’s co-defendants requested for an adjournment in order to prepare for their defence.
Responding, to the defence counsel’s requests for adjournment, Shitta-Bey told the court, “counsel should take the undertaking serious and ensure that they complete the car”.
“Constitutionally they are guaranteed adequate time to prepare for their defence but not an indefinite time”.
Justice Oshodi adjourned the case to Oct. 16 for defence.
Evans, is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba over the alleged kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Mr Donatius Dunu.
Earlier during Friday’s proceedings, Justice Oshodi in a ruling rejected the no-case submissions of Uchechukwu (third defendant), Ifeanyi (fourth defendant), Nwachukwu (fifth defendant)/and Aduba (sixth defendant) and ordered them to open their defence.
Justice Oshodi said that the prosecution had presented evidence to the court that linked the four co-defendants to the alleged crime.
He noted that during the trial, the fourth prosecution witness, Inspector Idowu Haruna had told the court that during interrogation, Evans had identified his other gang members which include the third, fourth and fifth and sixth defendants.
The judge said: “This witness (Haruna) also mentioned that the second defendant is also the husband of the third defendant.
“The third defendant upon his arrest had linked the first defendant (Evans) to the alleged crime and said the first defendant is their leader”.
“The victim (Dunu) in his court evidence, said that though he was blindfolded, his food was being made in captivity by a woman whose voice was that of the third defendant, the wife of the second defendant”.
“There is a prima facie case as the first defendant also implicated the co-defendants in Exhibit 10. The duty of the court is to look at the totality of the evidence so far before it. The prosecution has laid out a prima facie case”.
“The court finds and holds that no evidence has been discredited on the face of the document. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendant are now called to open their defence”.