Victor Aduba, an army official who aided alleged kidnap Kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans on his kidnapping operations was on Friday refused bail by an Ikeja High Court
Justice Hakeem Oshodi, in his ruling, said he was persuaded by the prosecution’s argument that Aduba was a flight risk, more so, as he had no relation in Lagos.
The judge held that Aduba did not place sufficient material before the court to make the court exercise its discretion in his favour.
“The bail application is hereby refused and is dismissed,” Justice Oshodi held.
Aduba, Evans and four others were arraigned before the judge on August 30, 2017 on two charges bordering on conspiracy and kidnapping.
The other defendants are Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okuchukwu Nwachukwu and Chilaka Ifeanyi.
Proceedings in case was however stalled on Friday as Evans’ lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, was absent.
While adjourning the matter till March 16, 2018, following prayer for same by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Titilayo Shita-Bey, the judge said he hoped that the letter written by Ogungbeje to seek an adjournment was not a ploy to frustrate the case.
Earlier, the judge, in a short ruling, foreclosed the opportunity of the 4th defendant, Nwachukwu, to cross-examine the first prosecution witness, Mr. Anselem Dunu.
The witness is the elder brother of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Donatus Dunu, who was allegedly kidnapped by the gang sometime in February this 2017.
The judge’s decision to foreclose Nwachukwu’s chance of cross-examining Dunu was based on Nwachukwu’s unwillingness to cross-examine the witness by himself as he was not represented by any lawyer on Friday.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Shitta-Bey, had urged the court not to allow Nwachukwu’s failure to get a lawyer to stop Friday’s proceedings.
She said, “The matter was adjourned for continuation of trial, particularly cross-examination of PW1 by the 4th defendant.
“That the 4th defendant is not represented by counsel should not prevent the cross-examination of the witness from going on.
“He has been given ample opportunity by this court to get counsel of his choice.
“Under Section 36(6)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), he’s entitled to examine the witness either by his counsel or himself.”
She added that on account of the 4th defendant’s delay to get a lawyer, the case had already suffered many adjournments.
Counsel for the 3rd and 5th defendants, A.A. Uzochukwu and Joseph Otogbolu, respectively aligned themselves with Shitta-Bey, but counsel for the 6th defendant, Emmanuel Ochei, urged the court to give Nwachukwu further grace to get a lawyer.
The judge, while agreeing with Shitta-Bey and others, asked the court registrar to ask Nwachukwu if he was ready to cross-examine the witness or foreclose his opportunity.
Responding, Nwachukwu said, “I’m not ready, My Lord.”
He added that his family had arranged a lawyer for him but he was surprised that the lawyer was not in court.
Responding, the judge held, “The court does not buy your excuse. It’s been the same excuse that you have been giving the court.”
Justice Oshodi directed the registrar to ask Nwachukwu once again if he was ready to cross-examine the witness by himself, to which he again replied, “I cannot cross-examine the witness.”
Consequently, the judge held, “Since the 4th defendant has refused to take up the opportunity to cross-examine the witness, he has forfeited the opportunity.”
As Shitta-Bey said she had no need to re-examine the witness, Justice Oshodi, consequently, discharged the witness.