Evans made me pay $420,000 as ransom – Businessman tells court

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A businessman, Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu, on Friday narrated before an Ikeja Special Offences Court, how he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and made to pay $420,000 ransom by alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike (alias Evans) and his gang members.

Ahamonu gave evidence online via the Zoom App, as the third prosecution witness in the trial of Evans and a dismissed member of the Nigeria Army, Victor Aduba.

When the witness was asked to identify Evans, who was standing in the dock alongside Aduba, he said, “I know him, that is Evans.”

He, however, was unable to identify Aduba.

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Led in evidence by Lagos State counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, Ahamonu said his ordeal began in the evening of June 23, 2014, while he was returning his residence from work, in his car.

He said his driver was waylaid by two or three men in police and military uniforms, who claimed to be men 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 Jean trousers.

“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 closeby 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,” he testified.

The witness said that three weeks into his alleged captivity, his abductors contacted his wife and asked her to pay $2 million ransom or he would be murdered.

He said his spouse, in order to meet up with the demands, sold their property and contacted family, friends and well wishers, after which she was able to raise $200,000.

“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.

“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,” Ahamonu said.

He 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.

The businessman alleged that Evans also kidnapped his relative, Onyebuchi, who paid the final tranche of $20,000 ransom.

He said he was later released alongside Onyebuchi.

He said that 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.

“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,” Ahamonu said.

While being cross-examined by Evans’s counsel, Mr Victor Opara (SAN), Ahamonu said he never met Evans prior to his alleged ordeal.

He said when he was accosted by the gang and told that he was wanted by SARS/authorities, he initially did not panic because he was a law-abiding citizen.

On raising of the funds for the ransom, he said that he had a very large family as well as a lot of friends who were anxious for his wellbeing.

He told court that the family members and friends helped to raise the money.

While being cross-examined by counsel to Aduba, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, Ahamonu said that the abduction occured on Kara Road, off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until Feb. 4, 2022, for continuation of trial.


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