Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (also known as Evans), Thursday changed his guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping to “not guilty.”
When he was first arraigned on August 30, he had pleaded guilty to the charges.
At the resumed proceedings, Thursday, before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court, Evans pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit felony to wit kidnapping under Section 411 of the Lagos State Criminal Laws and also to kidnapping.
This comes despite the fact that the acclaimed billionaire kidnapper had initially pleaded ‘guilty’ at his first trial appearance.
After reading of the charges, the counsel to the accused prayed for an adjournment of the case.
The presiding Judge obliged to the counsel’s request and adjourned the case till November 3, for further hearing
The notorious kidnap kingpin and five others were first arraigned on August 30.
Others arraigned with Evans are Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Victor Aduba and one female, Ogechi Uche Chukwu.
While Evans and two others pleaded guilty to the charges, the remaining defendants pleaded not guilty.
According to the lead counsel for the prosecuting team, Adeniji Kazeem, Evans and his accomplices committed the offence of conspiracy on February 14, 2017 around 7.45pm along Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos.
Kazeem said that the defendants between February 14 and April 12 along Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos, while armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, captured and detained one Duru Donatus.
According to the prosecutor, the defendants collected a ransom of 223,000 Euros for the release of Donatus.
After the plea was taken, Kazeem, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State, urged the court to remand the defendants in Kirikiri Maximum Prison and to take trial date for those who pleaded not guilty.
“My Lord, we are following this arraignment and we would like to apply that the defendants be remanded in prison custody and to take trial date for the ones that have pleaded not guilty.
“While for those who have pleaded guilty, we would like to lay our statement of fact following which your Lordship would adjourn for sentencing,” Kazeem said.
Responding to the application, Evans’ counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, informed the court that he had not been able to meet his client prior to the arraignment .
“With respect to the application from the learned Attorney General, we shall not be opposing same.
“However, the defence team just had the opportunity of meeting our clients this morning in court for the first time; we were just served with documents in the open court this morning.
“All the defendants have been in the custody of the police and we have not had the opportunity of conferring with them regarding the offences which are capital in nature,” Ogungbeje said.
The Judge had granted the prayer of the Attorney General ordering that the male defendants should be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison and the female defendant should be remanded in the female wing of the prison.
The police arrested Evans on June 10, 2017, in Lagos after five years of trailing him.
He was arrested in his Magodo residence by the operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
The suspect was said to have run to the roof of the house for emergency exit but the police caught up with him.
Security forces said Evans had been responsible for many high profile armed robberies in the South-West and South-East parts of the country.