Sylvanus Ahamonu, a businessman, has narrated to an Ikeja special offences court how he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and made to pay $420,000 ransom by Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, better known as Evans.
The court had on the last adjourned date granted permission to Ahamonu and his wife to testify via Zoom.
When asked if he could identify the first defendant, the witness said: “I know him; that is Evans.”
He, however, was unable to identify Victor Aduba, a dismissed soldier who is also standing trial.
Ahamonu said his car was stopped while he was returning to his residence from work on June 23, 2014, on Kara road, off Osolo way, Ajao estate, Lagos.
He said his driver was waylaid by some men in police and military uniforms, who claimed to be officers of the defunct special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
“Evans came into my car brandishing an AK-47 rifle. He was wearing a three-quarter Jeans trousers,” he said.
“I saw his face. He cannot deny it. The men in army and police uniforms were beating me. They said I was wanted by SARS.
“Their bus was parked close by and they took me into the bus, put me on the floor and covered my head. They placed their feet on my head throughout the trip.
“After about two or three hours, they transferred me to a Sienna car and took me to a building where they handcuffed my hands and legs and began interrogating me about my personal life and business.”
Narrating further, the witness said his abductors contacted his wife three weeks after his kidnap to demand $2 million ransom or he would be murdered.
He said his wife was able to raise $200,000 after selling off their properties and contacting family and friends.
“The money was given to them, and they said it was not complete. They said she must provide the complete money or they would kill me,” he said.
“She additionally sold some things in the village, and gave him another $200,000, and he said the money was not complete yet.
“My wife raised another $20,000, to give him. We gave them a total of $420,000.”
The witness told the court that Evans also threatened to kill his immediate elder brother, Dominic, who dropped off the first tranche of $200,000, because he reported the abduction to the police.
He also alleged that Evans kidnapped his relative, identified as Onyebuchi, who paid the $20,000 ransom.
He said he was later released alongside Onyebuchi.
According to Ahamonu, his path and Evans’s crossed again after he (Evans) was captured and held in police custody.
“The police announced that anyone who had been kidnapped by Evans before should come to identify him,” he said.
“When I saw him, he started begging for forgiveness. He told everyone the amount of money he received from me, and how he treated me.
“My hands and feet were handcuffed for two months and I was blindfolded for that period. I nearly died.
“Evans told my wife to take me to a hospital, and that if I should die, he would kill her. I had to be flown abroad for treatment.”
Corroborating her husband’s claims, Chimebere said she had to travel from Onitsha to Lagos to deliver the second tranch of $200,000.
NB: This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.
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