Two former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, on Tuesday denied being accomplices to the crimes of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ifeanyi and Aduba made the denials during the resumption of their trial at an Ikeja High Court over two-counts of kidnapping and conspiracy.
The ex-soldiers, who had earlier been dismissed by the Nigerian Army, are facing trial alongside Evans, Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Ogechi Uchechukwu for the alleged kidnap of Mr Donatius Dunu, the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals.
Ifeanyi, led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr A.A Uzoukwu, said he was acquainted with Aduba and had worked with him as a soldier.
He said one day, he was requested by another acquaintance, Mr Ikenna Chukwuma, to help him drive a car from a mechanic’s workshop at Ijesha, Lagos to Surulere, Lagos.
He told the court that when they got to the mechanic’s workshop, the car had not been repaired and Chukwuma had called a friend to pick them up from the workshop.
“When I entered the vehicle with Chukwuma, I saw Mr Victor Aduba (sixth defendant) in the vehicle and there was a weapon inside the vehicle.
“When I asked what the weapon was doing there, the driver told me to keep quiet and mind my business.
“I was asked if I know what is AP and I said no, then I was told to keep quiet and mind my business.
“My Lord, they did not carry anybody in that vehicle and they did not kidnap anybody. Reaching Cele Bus stop, I told them I was uncomfortable and asked to alight.
“I was dropped off at Cele Bus stop and they warned that if they heard anything from me, they would kill me and I went back home,” Ifeanyi said.
Responding to questions from Evans’ defence counsel, Mr Victor Okpara, Chilaka said he did not know Evans, and met him for the first time in police custody.
“I have never taken part in any kidnap activities in my life. I have never attempted to kidnap anyone before or conspired with Evans to kidnap the victim (Dunu),” he said.
Under cross-examination by the lead prosecutor, Mr Adebayo Haroun, Chilaka said it was a locally made weapon he saw in the vehicle and he did not know the reason why he was warned not to reveal what transpired.
The second ex-soldier, Aduba, denied partaking in kidnapping with Evans and the other co-defendants.
He alleged that he was tortured into admitting to the crimes by members of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigerian Police Force.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ochai, Aduba said he was invited by an acquaintance, Mr Chukwuma Nwosu to a bar in Ago, Lagos but unknown to him, Nwosu was wanted by the police.
“As I reached the bar, he (Nwosu) was acting unusual and I kept asking what was wrong with him, and then I noticed five policemen who approached me and said I was under arrest.
“I resisted and they overpowered me and when I got to the police station, one Mr Philip their boss said I should cooperate with them and do whatever they say I should do.
“I told them they should allow me to go to my office where I worked as a soldier but they refused,” he said.
Aduba said that he was ordered by a member of IRT, Insp. Idowu Haruna, to sign a written statement admitting to the crime but he refused.
He alleged he was ordered to be taken to a “theatre” by Mr Phillip where he was beaten and was cut with a machete by Haruna.
Aduba showed his alleged machete injury to the court during his testimony.
He alleged that in the days he was in custody, three men; Felix Chinemeren, Paul Samyan and Chukwuma Nwosu, who were initially paraded to the media as kidnappers, were extra-judicially killed by the IRT team.
“I was still being told to sign some papers but I refused and I said if I refuse I will travel (slang for killed). At that point Idowu Haruna brought out his phone for me to look at some pictures.
“When I looked at it, I discovered it was the dead bodies of the three men with whom I was in custody. That was how I was forced to sign the papers,” he said.
To corroborate his claims, Ochai, Aduba’s counsel, tendered to the court, a record of court proceedings of a kidnap trial held on Nov. 5, 2018 before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.
In the records of proceedings, Haruna had in his testimony, admitted that the three deceased had died in police custody.
Aduba in his evidence vehemently denied working with Evans.
“On Feb.14, 2017 (the day of Dunu’s kidnap), I was on a 24-hour duty at Abati Barracks gate. I even told Insp. Idowu Haruna to check out my alibi but he said it was none of his business.
“I have never conspired with anybody neither have I gone with anybody to kidnap anyone,” he said.
While being cross-examined by Haroun, Aduba said he was enlisted by the Nigerian Army on Aug.15, 2009 and had known Ifeanyi since 2010.
He described Ifeanyi’s evidence that he conveyed him in a vehicle with a locally made weapon as “a fabricated story”.
Aduba denied Haroun’s allegations that he was one of the soldiers who Evans had in a recorded confession, admitting to be members of his gang.
Haroun also noted that in the records of proceedings of Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, Haruna in his evidence never said he traveled (killed) anyone in his custody.
The prosecutor noted that Haruna had in his evidence said that the three men had died in the custody of the police at Ikorodu General Hospital.
Responding to questions from the prosecution, Aduba said he was never dismissed by the Nigerian Army over allegations of kidnapping.
“The charges against me by the military was that I was AWOL. I was never given the chance to challenge my dismissal by the army,” he said.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until Nov. 5 for adoption of final written addresses. (NAN)(awww.nanews.ng)
FG to unveil NIPOST unbundling policies
By Tolu Aiyegbusi
Abuja, August 3, 2021 (NAN) The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, said the Federal Government would soon unveil policies to unbundle the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST).
Pantami stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the unveiling ceremony of NIPOST revenue stamp.
The Minister described NIPOST as one of the most important institutions of government, adding that policies that would transform its operations and make it innovative would soon be unveiled.
“ We have so many policies of transforming NIPOST in the pipeline and part of it will unbundle NIPOST.
“We also have the ACT of NIPOST going into amendment.
“ We have a plan with a property and development company, the company will bring together all the properties of NIPOST, develop them and make sure that the government generates revenue from them.
“ All generated revenue will go into developing sectors like health, education, agriculture, security and other social developments,’’ he said.
He disclosed that other aspects of NIPOST unbundling to take place before end of the year include NIPOST transport and logistics, courier services and microfinance bank.
Pantami who was hopeful of NIPOST becoming a world class outfit praised stakeholders for their unrelenting efforts in remodeling and recording modest achievements recently.
The Postmaster General (PMG) of NIPOST, Dr Ismail Adewusi, earlier stated that over the years, Nigeria’s history had been documented through stamps.
“ Through stamps, NIPOST has documented Nigeria’s history, educating and preserving our national heritage among others.
“Stamps have served as objects of visual communication and dependable recorder of events for prosperity, ” he said.
Going down memory lane, the PMG said revenue stamps were first issued when the Niger coast and southern Nigerian protectorates merged into the colony and protectorate of Nigeria in 1938.
According to him, after the time of the merger, series of rare revenue stamps were produced.
However, he urged the public to avail themselves the new revenue stamps for the authentication and validation of documents and denotation of duties or fees.
“ We have about 25 million copies of the stamp unveiled today for sale at the rate of N50 each and it is available for sale in all our postal outfits nationwide.
“ We are hopeful it will be sold out in the next two weeks and then we commence reproduction,’’ he said.
In her remarks, the chairman, NIPOST Governing Board, Maimuna Abubakar, said the unveiling of stamps marked a milestone in the effort towards institutionalising a culture of excellence in NIPOST public service delivery.
According to her, NIPOST is back to its legal position of administration of stamps and effectively contributing to the socio economic development of Nigeria.
“ We are
with the signing into law of the amended Finance Act 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“ There is no need over stating the obvious that NIPOST stamps have been unquestionably used since time immemorial as the only instrument for denoting duty and today’s event is a testament.
“ I strongly believe that NIPOST can thrive on revenue generation, considering the massive network, infrastructure and opportunities around it,’’ she said. (NAN)