Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court on Friday told alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, that he will have to defend himself in his criminal trial if he comes to court without legal representation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that during Friday’s proceeding, the visibly angry judge noted that Evans had changed his defence counsel four times during trial, an action which has slowed the pace of proceedings.
Justice Oshodi said: “The first defendant (Evans) informed the court that his lawyer has left and that his people have gone to approach Okpara’s chamber.
“If the first defendant is not represented in the next adjourned date, he will have to conduct his defence himself.
“The first defendant has himself changed counsel four times during proceedings.
“The first defendant should take this as a warning.
“This is my ruling on this matter.”
Earlier during proceedings in which the defendants were to open their defence, Evans, of all the six defendants, had no legal representation.
Upon enquiry by Justice Oshodi, he told the court that his defence counsel had stopped representing him in court.
He said: “My former lawyer is no longer appearing in this matter.
“My people have gone to the chambers of Victor Okpara to represent me.”
The counsel to Evan’s five co-defendants informed the court that they had filed their respective no-case submissions and had served copies of the court processes to the prosecution.
The state prosecutor, Adebayo Haroun, confirmed receipt of copies of the no-case submissions, adding that the prosecution will file their response on March 16.
NAN reports that Evans is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba over the alleged kidnap of Donatius Dunu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited.
The six defendants were arraigned on August 30, 2017 on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping.
According to the prosecution, the defendants allegedly kidnapped Dunu along Ilupeju Road, Lagos on February 14, 2017 and collected 223,000 Euros (N100 million) as ransom from his family.
The pharmaceutical boss, allegedly still held captive by the defendants because his family had not paid additional money to the ransom already collected, escaped captivity and alerted the police.
Four witnesses, including Dunu, have testified during the trial on behalf of the prosecution.
On January 10, the prosecution closed its case against the defendants.
Evans has had four defence counsel during the course of the trial, including Olukoya Ogungbeje, Noel Brown and Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
The case was adjourned till April 3 for hearing of the no-case submissions.