By Moji Eniola
Mr. Victor Okpara, defense attorney for Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, said the ongoing strike by the Nigerian Judicial Staff Union (JUSUN) had blocked his client’s trial.
Evans was due to continue his defense on Wednesday before Judge Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court for the alleged kidnapping of Mr. Donatus Dunu, CEO of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Speaking to the Nigeria News Agency (NAN), Okpara said Evans opened his defense and testified that he was innocent of all allegations made against him by the state.
“He testified in court as to his innocence regarding all of the charges against him as contained in the charge sheet.
“The case has been adjourned until April 14, for the continuation of the trial, because we have other witnesses who must corroborate what he said but we cannot continue due to the strike”, a- he said.
Okpara, however, noted that although JUSUN’s ongoing strike blocked the case, but said the demands of the court workers were for the general good of justice.
“JUSUN is fighting for the financial autonomy of the judiciary, which any good lawyer should support.
“We cannot say that our judicial system is truly independent when it is tied to the executive cords and usually goes cap in hand asking for money,” he said.
Okpara, however, said every defendant has the right to have their day in court as provided for in the 1999 Constitution, with the most recent delay in the case being due to unforeseen circumstances.
NAN reports that Evans was arraigned before Judge Oshodi on August 31, 2017 for conspiracy and kidnapping alongside five co-accused.
His co-defendants are – Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba.
According to the prosecution, the accused abducted Dunu along the Ilupeju road in Lagos on February 14, 2017 and collected 223,000 euros in ransom from his family.
The trial was delayed due to the change in legal representation of Evans five times and, most recently, the ongoing JUSUN strike that began on April 6.
Four prosecution witnesses, including Dunu, testified during the trial on behalf of the state.
At the time of filing this report, no new date has been given by the court for the continuation of the trial due to the strike. (NOPE)
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