There was melodrama in court , when Billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka “Evans”, lamented that he was not allowed access to food or water.
He told the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja that the last time he was fed by the Nigerian prison authority was five days ago.
Mr. Onwuamadike and the other five accused persons made the complaint during the continuation of their trial before Justice Hakeem Oshodi on Friday, November 17, 2017.
The other defendants are: Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba.
Immediately Evans was brought into the courtroom, Evans and the other accomplices began agitating about their feeding condition in prison custody.
According to Evans, the prison authorities deprived him of change of clothes, food, and water since Wednesday.
“This is unfair, I have not been given food and change of clothes. I was not given the opportunity to bathe since Wednesday. I am seriously hungry now. They locked us in one place, no food and no water to bathe. The last we were fed was when a wife of one of us brought food” he lamented.
Evans’ counsel Olukoya Ogungbeje, and Mr. Aduba’s lawyer, Emmanuel Ochai, also attested to the fact that their clients are being starved.
Mr. Ogungbeje sought permission to go buy food for his clients, pleading that only a living person can stand trial.
Mr. Ogungbeje said; “apart from being starved my lord, they are locked up in solitary confinement with no access to anybody. If this continues, they may not be in the right frame of mind to continue the trial”.
Having listened to the reactions, the presiding judge ordered the prosecutor, Ms. Titilayo Shittay-Bey, to investigate the accusation.
“The Director of Public Prosecution should please investigate these allegations. A defendant is innocent until he is proven guilty by a competent court,” he said.
He also scolded the lead lawyer to Evans, Mr. Ogungbeje- for seemingly threatening the court. “Do not threaten the court” the judge retorted.
The Lagos State Prosecutor, Ms. Shitta-Bey, in her response told the court that the prosecution would promptly investigate the allegations.
At the resumption of hearing, Justice Oshodi threw out the bail application filed by the only female defendant, Ogechi Uchechukwu, asking to be released on bail.
The said he found no merit in her application for bail, stating that the defendant has no concrete base in Lagos and would constitute a flight risk.
“The 6th defendant claims that the police only arrested her because she is the wife of one of the defendants. But according to the prosecution, the No 21, Ishaye street Igando apartment where the victims of the kidnapping ring were allegedly kept, was rented in her name.
“In her statement, she claimed that her husband and the 1st defendant were business partners who deal in drugs, claims which need to be proved before this court. I hereby find no merit in this application, and the defendant should be kept in custody for her own safety due to the severity of the case,” the judge ruled.
The judge thereafter adjourned the matter until January 19, 2018, for cross-examination of the first witness and continuation of trial.