Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court on Friday ordered the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to takeover the defence for alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans due to his inability to afford his legal fees.
During Friday’s proceedings, the Lagos State Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, informed the court that his team placed a phone call to the law chambers of Ladi Williams, SAN and Co, who represented Evans’ on the last court date to enquire about the whereabouts of Evans’ counsel.
The A-G noted that his team was informed by the law chambers that Evans has not “perfected their brief”. Evans who was arraigned alongside five others on Aug. 30, 2017 on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping has changed lawyers at least five times during the course of his trial. Some of the lawyers who have represented him include – Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, Mr Noel Brown and Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
Reacting to the absence of his defence counsel, Justice Oshodi noted that Evans had developed a habit of engaging the services of lawyers who according to the judge, “disappeared halfway through trial” and this has caused delays in the case.
“There are five other defendants with different counsel, the interest of the first defendant (Evans) is not superior to those of the other defendants. The court will not breach Section 36(6) of the 1999 Constitution by going ahead with today’s business of the court which is the hearing of the no-case submissions,” he said.
Justice Oshodi thereafter ordered an OPD counsel who was in court, Ms E.E. Okonkwo, to takeover Evans’ defence. Following the judge’s ruling, Evans’ co-defendants -Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba filed no-case submissions asking the court to dismiss the charges against them. The second defendant, Uche Amadi, however did not file a no-case submission.