Billionaire kidnapper: Court sentences Evans co-defendant to five years for selling firearms
A special court in Ikeja on Friday sentenced Frank Udeme, one of the co-defendants of convicted billionaire kidnapping ringleader Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, to five years in Kirikiri Correctional Centre.
Judge Oluwatoyin Taiwo convicted Udeme of selling firearms to Evans after pleading guilty to the charge.
The judge ordered the sentence to take effect from the day he was taken into custody.
“In view of the guilty plea of the third defendant, I hereby find the defendant guilty of the charges against him.
“The defendant is sentenced to five years in prison. However, the sentence will take effect from the day the defendant is in custody, which is July 6, 2017,” she said.
Earlier, the lawyer for the third defendant, AB Josiah, had notified the court of the change in the defendant’s plea.
NAN reports that the charge was read back to the accused and he pleaded guilty to counts six and seven.
Dr Babatunde Martins, Director of the Public Prosecutions Branch, told the court that the third defendant admitted selling two live ammunition AK47s and 270 AK47s to Evans.
Martins said Udeme, a native of Itan-kotoromu in Ika local government in Akwa-Ibom, gave a statement on July 7, 2017, admitting the offence.
The prosecutor said: “He admitted meeting the first defendant and selling him two live ammunition AK47s and 270 AK47s.
“In his statement, he said he got the weapons from his community.
“According to him, the weapons were given to him by his community to fight against the inter-municipal crisis.
“Evans sent his driver, Emeka, to collect the ammunition from him. In his statement he wrote and I quote ‘I sold the ammunition to Evans for N400,000 but he only paid me N200,000′ .Since I haven’t seen it’.’
Martins said the accused’s statement was admitted into evidence, adding that the offense contravened section 9(2) of the Firearms Act and was punishable under section 27(b). ) (iii) of the same law.
“In view of this fact, we urge the honorable court to convict the defendant accordingly,” he said.
However, Josiah, in his address, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, noting that the defendant had no previous criminal record.
“Monsignor, I beg the court to temper justice with mercy, by reviewing the defendant’s plea, which will save the court a lot of stress.
“I also want the court to take into account that the defendant has been in custody since July 6, 2017, which is almost the length of his sentence if convicted.
“I urge my Lord to temper justice with mercy and inflict on the accused a lenient sentence.
“This is his first offense and he has no criminal record,” he said.
NAN reports that Evans, Frank Udeme, Joseph Ikenna and Chiemeka Arinze have been arraigned on seven counts of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping conspiracy and selling firearms.
They allegedly attempted to kidnap Chief Vincent Obianodo, president of Young Shall Grow Motors, on August 27, 2013.
It was also reported that one of the defendants, Arinze, died on November 26, 2021 from cardiorespiratory arrest caused by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Taiwo adjourned the case until March 28 for the continuation of the trial of the two remaining defendants.