The Lagos High Court in Tafawa Balewa Square, on Wednesday, adjourned the case of convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, to open his defence till July 13, 2022.
Justice Kayode Ogunjobi heeded to the prayers of the defence counsel led by Maxwell Chukwuemeka, who pleaded with the court that he had filed two applications – a motion for change of counsel and a motion for amendment of the defendant’s statement of defence.
Chukwuemeka was seeking to represent the defendant.
A kidnapped victim, Chief Donatus Dunu, had in 2018 filed a suit demanding the return of the sum of £223,000 he paid as ransom while in the custody of Evans.
The claimant is also demanding N50 million as damages.
The claimant’s counsel, Mr D. O. Obiora, told the court that the defendant has been changing counsel and did not oppose the applications.
Obiora said the court delivered a ruling on May 23, granting leave for the defendant to file its statement of defence. He continued that the defendant is seeking leave to amend its defence, which it has yet to file.
However Justice Ogunjobi granted the two applications.
The judge lamented, “This matter has suffered several adjournments. The delay is hurting everybody and putting the state at expense.
“We have been here since 2018 till 2022, at the instance of the defendant. I awarded a cost of N2.5 million because the delay was unwarranted.
“If there is further delay, I will award another cost because I don’t see why you have an application to amend your statement of defence and you didn’t come with the amended statement to file it.”
The justice adjourned the case until July 13 for the defence to open its case.
The claimant had instituted the suit on May 16, 2018 and served the defendant through the Comptroller General of Prison, Kirikiri maximum prison Lagos.
The defendant was initially represented by a lawyer in March 2019 and was accorded every opportunity to defend the suit but failed to do so.
However, when the claimant closed his case on March 3, 2022, the defendant came back seeking leave of court to defend himself.