Olukoya Ogungbeje, the counsel to the alleged kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans claims his clients was forced to say he was guilty to charges against him while he was arraigned before Ikeja High Court, yesterday, August 30.
Evans as well as two of the five suspects arraigned with
him, pleaded guilty before the judge Hakeem Oshodi, to the two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy brought against them.
Those arraigned with him were — Uche Amadi, Ogechi Ichechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachuckwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba.
Hakeem Oshodi, who presided over the case, had ordered that they be remanded in Kirikiri prison after adjourning the case till October 19.
However, Ogunbeje assured that the plea would be changed to not guilty at the next court sitting, noting that the alleged kidnapped was ‘brainwashed’ which is unconstitutional.
“The information/charge sheet was served on us in open court hence, the need to confer with our client to enable us avail ourselves with the constitutional right of adequate time and facility to put up our defence,” Ogungbeje said in a statement.
“The court, after turning down our plea for adjournment, immediately ordered that the counts charges be read to him and others despite our plea for the adjournment to enable us confer with our client in accordance with the law.
“After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose, we stressed to have brief discussion time with our client and he told us clearly that the police told him to plead guilty failure to which they would kill him.
“This is definitely unconstitutional and we intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure for hoodwinking, undue influence, brainwashing and coercion on an accused into entering a guilty plea against his wish
and free will.
“He pointedly told us that being
informed us that being informed now, he will change his police-motivated guilty plea to not guilty at the next adjourned date.
“It is settled law that plea of guilty must be made voluntary and direct devoid of any influence, coercion and manipulation.
“In the meantime, after our brief conferring with our client in open court, he made it known to us that he will change his police motivated guilty plea to ‘not guilty’ at the next adjourned date.”