JUSTICE Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court on Friday ordered the Lagos State office of the Public Defender to take over the defence for alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans after the fifth lawyer pulled out due to financial constraint.
Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), the Lagos State Attorney-General, who informed the court about the development noted that the law chambers of Ladi Williams (SAN) and Co, who represented Evans on the last court date said they have not perfected their brief.
Evans who was arraigned alongside five others on August 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 Evans include – Olukoya Ogungbeje, Noel Brown and Olanrewaju Ajanaku.
Reacting to the absence of the 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 he said, 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,” Oshodi said.
“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.”
The judge, thereafter, ordered an OPD counsel who was in court, 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.
'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.