Two former gang-members of the notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans were on Monday, sentenced to 41 years in prison.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, gave the verdict.
The convicts, Kelvin Emenike Ukoh, 32 and Emeka Obasi, 33 were jailed for the kidnap of Ugoje Jude, a shipping agent, and his staff, Piriye Gogo on August 3, 2012, at about 9 pm, in a kidnap operation which Evans also reportedly participated in.
The convicts were arraigned sometime in 2013 alongside three others: Uche Igbani, 28, Chibuzor Osuagwu, 33 and a 36-year-old woman, Onowu Ngozi, on a 14 count-charge bothering on conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.
Piriye narrating her ordeal, before the court said that the three men accosted them with rifles on their way home and that she was almost raped inside the car, but was saved by her monthly menstrual period. She said during her evidence-in-chief: “One of them came into the car, tore my clothes, pulled down a side of my bra and began caressing my breast. He thereafter started dragging down my shirt and I began begging him. I begged him until I had nothing else I could plead with. I begged him intensely for mercy and even told him that I was menstruating.
”He thereafter asked whether Jude was the owner of the company. And I replied that we were just clearing agents. They also seized our mobile phones, jewellery and money.
“They blindfolded Jude, brought him back into the car, asked me to face down with my eyes closed, and then drove off to another location. They spoke Igbo almost all the time so I could barely understand what they were saying or taking us to.
“While driving off to the other location, they asked if I could drive, I said no. So they dropped down from the car and took Jude with them. They ordered me to face down and not look at their faces or I will be shot dead. They abandoned me and the Honda pilot car at 2nd bridge alongside Expressway, where I waited until I saw a police patrol and flagged them.
“I narrated what happened to them and the immediately radioed Festac Police station.”
Jude, who also testified before the court, said that his abductors initially ordered him to pay N10m for his release but after much negotiations, they collected N5m.
Ukoh and Obasi were convicted and sentenced to 5, 15 and 21 years by Justice Taiwo for conspiracy, kidnapping and armed robbery respectively, while the other three were discharged and acquitted by court.
The Judge said that the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt the nexus linking the other three: Igbani, Osuagwu, Ngozi to the alleged charges of murder, conspiracy, kidnapping and armed robbery.
He also noted that the prosecution could not present any evidence of murder as charged against all the defendants, aside from their confessional statements.
While Igbani and Osuagwu claimed they were arrested on their way to work, Ngozi said that Udoh, her brother’s friend, brought police to her house to arrest her brother, who was at large but now deceased.
Ngozi who claimed that when the police couldn’t find her brother, was arrested instead.