Pacifier: A society of anything goes

Admin 17 Jul, 2017 Pacifier

By David Akinadewo

Paul Cole, 34, from Ohafia in Abia State. A Director with Ocean Glory Commodities, Apapa, kidnapped August 3rd, 2012 at Festac Town together with his General Manager, Jude Ugoje and another staff, PiriyeGogo, and taken to an unknown destination.

They demanded for N10m. On August 6th2012, they collected N5m ransom at Maza-maza area of Lagos State.

* Mohammed Jamal, 22, a Lebanese, kidnapped on August 19, 2012 at Ajah by three armed men, taken away blindfolded. N7M ransom was later paid at Ojo Barracks.

* Kingsley Nwokenta, 34, kidnapped September 19, 2012 after he left Lebanana Bar in Festac at Mile two under bridge. Later, paid N1.5M ransom while they made away with his black Toyota Venza and other accessories.

* Anthony Ozoanidobi, 41, kidnapped in October 10th 2012 along Marwa Road Satellite Town. Ransom of N1.5M paid after which he was released at Apple Junction, Amuwo-Odofin.

* Leo Abraham 58, kidnapped August 20, 2012. Paid ransom of N5M and was later released along Badagry road, Lagos.

* Ojukwu Cosmas, 45, sells Toyota parts at Aspanda Trade Fair. Kidnapped January 21, 2016 at Festac Town. It was not clear when and how he was released.

* James Uduji; kidnapped close to his house at 7th Avenue Festac late last year. Held for 6 six weeks. Paid $1M.

* Chief Raymond Okoye  Odu- Na Ichida, kidnapped 2015. Paid $1M as ransom, held captive for 2months

* Uche Okoroafor, trader at Alaba, kidnapped 2015, held captive for three (3) months, paid $1M.

* Elias Ukachukwu kidnapped November 2015. Paid $1M. Date of release unknown but it was gathered that his abductors were insisting on another $1M claiming family members were rude to them during negotiation.

* Francis Umeh also a spare parts dealer at Aspanda, kidnapped July 2016 at Raji Rasaki Estate, released after two months in captivity.

* The last Victim is Mr Donatus Duru. He was kidnapped in Ilupeju February 2017 and fortunately the man escaped from the Igando House where Evans kept him with his boys last month.

It also assisted in unmasking the gang members and those providing support for them, whose names are:

* Ikenna Emeka 28yrs Native of Anambra State.

With all these revelations, one cannot but wonder how a sane legal practitioner could still stick his neck out to defend such a self confessed suspected notorious criminal and his gang members.

A lawyer instituting a case of enforcement of fundamental human right on behalf of a kidnap kingpin? Wonders, they say shall never end. Does he ever understand what it feels like to be abducted? This nation surely needs deliverance.

Yes, I know some people would argue that he is presumed innocent until found guilty by a law court. But here’s a case of a man the entire security forces of the country had been trailing for years due to the nefarious activities of his gang, and many of his victims had come out to narrate their ugly experiences in his hands.

A victim’s son had revealed that his 86-year-old father was killed by Evans and his gang after he had paid a huge ransom. Yet, someone is talking about legal jargon? Though I am not an advocate of jungle justice, this is an insult taken too far.

More disheartening is the call for the release of Evans by a group of Nigerians in social media. The movement created a hashtag #FreeEvans, and it has since gathered momentum as many people are calling on the police to release the suspect they arrested on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Championed by Evans’ wife, Uche, the campaign for his release was based on the premise that if he is released, he will help the police in cracking other high profile cases.

According to their reasoning, Evans should not be jailed while some corrupt politicians who have been accused of embezzling funds are still walking around free.

It is just difficult to understand why we have sunk to this level where we now celebrate criminality by mere finding an alibi.

Evans lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, stunned Nigerians recently as he filed a fundamental rights suit on behalf of his client, by dragging the Inspector General of Police, and three others before a Federal High Court in Lagos over the suspected kidnapper’s alleged illegal detention .

Joined as respondents are the Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police Lagos State, and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.

In his fundamental rights claim, the confessed kidnapper is seeking a court order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court if there is any case against him.

He is in the alternative, seeking an order, compelling the respondents to immediately release him unconditionally in the absence of any offence warranting a charge.

In the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1012/2017, Evans is contending that his continued detention by the respondents since June 10, without a charge, or release on bail is an infringement on his fundamental rights.

He argued that the respondents ought to have charged him to court in accordance with the provisions of Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution.

It was further argued that the alleged offence committed by the applicant (Evans) are correspondingly intertwined with the constitutional safeguards as provided under Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution.

Reacting to the incident, the officer-in-charge of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), ACP Abba Kyari, said the continued detention of Evans and gang was in line with the law.

He said: “Evans’ gang members who wanted him to go to court before police will finish investigations that have been leading to their exposure and arrests, hired a lawyer who sued the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and Officer-in-Charge of SARS.

“They are insisting that Evans should be charged to court. Unknown to them, the Federal High Court last week Thursday gave order for Evans and his gang members to be remanded in police custody for three months.

“This is to enable the police conclude all Investigations in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, so that all involved will be brought to book.”

Kudos must however be given to the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba who dismissed the suit for being inane and awarded N500, 000 cost against the petitioner’s lawyer.

With this highly embarrassing attitude of Barrister Ogungbeje to make huge money at all cost, I think it suffice at this juncture for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to call some lawyers fond of bringing the name of the association to disrepute to order.

How on earth can a man who takes delight in denying people their rights to liberty be asking for fundamental human right? We must collectively sanitise the Nigerian system so as to discourage the masses from resorting to jungle justice.

Nigeria must work. We are not in a jungle for goodness sake.

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