Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, has rejected the claim by two co-defendants of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, that a confessional statement was extracted from them was done under duress by the police.
Justice Oshodi on Friday ruled that the defence counsel of Chilaka Ifeanyi (fourth defendant) and Victor Aduba (sixth defendant) did not provide sufficient proof to the court that they were coerced into giving the statements to the police.
He also noted that the 1999 Constitution did not state that confessional statements to the police must be in a particular form and that statements to the police could be made either orally or in writing.
“The evidence of the prosecution was not dented by the defence counsel. The defendants have not been able to provide any evidence of inducement, threat or promise.
“There is no proof that the statements of the fourth and sixth defendants were made involuntarily.
“The statements of the fourth defendant is hereby admitted and marked as Exhibit 8 while the attestation form is marked 8A.
”The statement of the sixth defendant is marked Exhibit 9,” the judge said.
Newsmen report that during the trial-within-trial, Ifeanyi and Aduba claimed that their statements to the police were forcefully obtained by the police during interrogation.
However, Insp. Idowu Haruna, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) and member, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team, disputed their claims.
While giving evidence, Haruna said that their statements were given in a conducive environment.
He said the defendants were not threatened and that they cooperated with the police while investigating the kidnap of Chief Donatius Dunu, their alleged victim.
Mr Yakubu Oshoala, the Lead prosecuting counsel, thanked the court for the ruling and informed it that the IPO who was scheduled to give evidence, was absent in court.
“My lord, the witness is outside jurisdiction. He went on a short training outside jurisdiction and he informed us yesterday that his flight was canceled.
“We apologise for this and we ask for another date; he will be within jurisdiction by then,” Oshoala said.
Justice Oshodi adjourned the case to Jan. 10, 2020 for continuation of trial.
Evans is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba over the alleged kidnap of Dunu, Chief Executive Officer, Maydon Pharmaceutical Ltd.
The six defendants were arraigned on Aug. 30, 2017 on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping.
According to the prosecution, they kidnapped Dunu and collected 223,000 Euros (N100 million) as ransom from his family.
Four witnesses including Dunu have so far testified during the trial on behalf of the state.