An elderly man, Anselem Dunu, told an Ikeja High Court, Lagos how his family paid N100m ransom to the gang of the alleged kidnap kingpin, Evans, for the release of his younger brother, Donatus Dunu, held in their custody.
Mr. Dunu, while being led in evidence on Friday by the prosecution led by the Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Titilayo Shitta-Bey, told the court that the gang had kidnapped his brother, demanded a million Euro but his family was able to pay N100m.
Evans was arraigned alongside five other suspected members of his gang, identified as:
Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba and a woman, Ogechi Uchechukwu.
All defendants, who have been incarcerated since June 10, 2017, were docked on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping of one Dunu Donatus.
Mr Dunu, who mounted the witness box at exactly 3:45 pm, said that the victim( Donatus) was his younger brother and the Chief Executive Director of Maydon pharmaceutical company limited.
Recounting the kidnap event, but this time pointing at the 4th defendant, Nwachukwu and Evans, Dunu told the court that he still recognizes the faces of the kidnappers the caused havoc to his family.
Dunu said, “despite the payment of N100m, which we exchanged into its equivalent as 223,000, Evans and his gang refused to release my brother.
“My brother kidnapped on February 14, 2017, and was in the kidnapper’s den for four months, while they rained my phone with calls threatening and demanding for 100 million Euros.
“On that fateful day, I received a phone call from my youngest brother Innocent Dunu informing me about the kidnap of our brother.
“We rushed to the Ilupeju Police Station where we reported the case. We were referred to SCID Panti where the CSP, Abba Kyari, in charge of the Anti- kidnapping Squad, told me that the pattern of my brother’s kidnapping was similar to that of the notorious kidnapper, Evans.
“The CSP told me to be strong adding that Evans would contact me in two weeks since it was his pattern and that I should be strong because the kind of money they would demand as ransom would make me faint.
“After two weeks, a private number called me and I heard my brother’s voice at the other end begging me to close all his bank accounts and give the kidnappers all the money.
“My brother’s voice was anxious and filled with pain. I told him that there was no way I could access his accounts since I was not a signatory. The call ended abruptly.
“I was contacted again after four days and my brother sounded more desperate, begging me not to allow him die in captivity.
“The kidnappers grabbed the phone from my brother and demanded million Euros, to which I replied that we were only able to raise N20m. A voice on the other end immediately started cursing me, ‘thunder fire you. Go and get us our money’, and the call ended.
“I rallied round and managed to raise N60m which I informed the kidnappers when they called after three days. The kidnapper demanded for 1m Euros if I wanted to see my brother alive.
“The kidnapper threatened to kill me whenever I bring the money. He also insisted that I must be the one to bring the money.
” I could hear my brother’s voice in the background pleading for mercy and shouting, “please stop beating me.”
“We were finally able to raise N100m which we we changed into 223,000 Euros. They contacted me and I told them what we were able to raise. They thereafter told me they would contact me.
“They contacted me and I arranged with my Cousin, Uche Okeagbu to take the money to them. They demanded I give my phone to Uche, and instructed him to bring the money to Oshodi.
“We packaged the money in cellophane bags and Uche took it to them at Oshodi. After they collected the 223,000 Euros, they stopped calling.
“Sometimes in May, I got a call from my younger brother who told me that my brother Donatus had escaped from the kidnappers den.
“When we were finally reunited with, he was in a very critical condition. He was emaciated. His beard was so bushy and white. In short, he looked like an early man (cave man).
“At the Bourdillon Police Headquarters the 4th defendant, Okuchukwu Nwachukwu was paraded as the one that tipped off Evans about my brother.
“I know Nwachukwu very well. He is my very good friend and i fondly call him Congo. He apologized profusely when he saw me and told me that but was the devil and greed that pushed him into kidnapping.
“Evans was also paraded as the mastermind behind the kidnap. When Evans was asked why he chose my brother he said it was a random act, adding that one of his boys was not feeling fine and had bought a drug manufactured by Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited.
“He also said when he checked the manufacturer’s address, he contacted Nwachukwu who gave him details of my brother’s movements,” Anselem Dunu told the court.
Justice Oshodi thereafter adjourned the matter till November 17 for continuation of trial
Earlier during the proceedings, Justice Oshodi dismissed an application filed by the defence team seeking to quash the kidnapping and conspiracy charges against him.
Justice Oshodi in his ruling said the court found no merit in the application.
Evan’s Counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, informed the court that he had two applications pending before the court; one seeking to entirely quash the two count charge against his client while the other application is asking the court to grant his client bail.
Ogungbeje further argued that filing two separate suits against his client in two different courts, is a gross abuse if court processes.
He further argued that there is no prima facie case against his client [Evans], and added that his client’s name was not mentioned by any of his alleged victims.
Evans lawyer said; “There is no ground for Prosecution. The same witnesses the prosecution listed in the suit filed before an Igbosere High Court are the same ones listed in the suit before the Ikeja High Court.
“The new amended charge has no proof of evidence. The proof of evidence presently before this court is the one attached to the former charge, therefore there is ground for the proceedings.”