Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, the alleged kidnap kingpin, alias Evans, said on Friday that he was innocent of the charges slammed against him before the Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja.
Evans, who is facing four counts of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms, claimed that he was not a criminal but was into the legitimate business of haulage and had about 30 workers on his payroll.
He claimed that he was made to confess to the crime under duress.
Evans, who is being tried alongside an ex-soldier, Victor Aduba, stated this during the continuation of his trial on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Evans denied kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu, and collecting $420,000 ransom from his family.
While being cross-examined by the state prosecutor, Mr Yusuf Sule, he vehemently denied knowing Ahamonu prior to seeing him after his arrest.
When Sule noted that Ahamonu had identified him when he testified virtually (via the Zoom app) in court, Evans said he was easily identifiable.
“Ahamonu and Idowu Haruna (the Investigating Police Officer) could have conspired with the police.
“My pictures are everywhere, all over the world. Before my picture was everywhere, people knew who I was.
“I had a haulage and logistics business with over 30 staff (members) and drivers in Amuwo-Odofin.”
The alleged kidnap kingpin said he had made no mention of his haulage and logistics business in his statement because it was written by the police.
Responding to questions, Evans said he also did not provide medical documents proving his alleged torture by the police to the court.
He, however, noted that while he was incarcerated, he had filed a fundamental human rights suit against the police at the Federal High Court, Lagos, over the alleged torture.
Explaining why he was seen in a jovial mood in the confessional video played in the court when prosecution presented its case, Evans said he was forced to act in that manner by the police.
“The police told me to be laughing and smiling in the video. You do not know what I encountered in the hands of Abba Kyari and his boys. My eyes saw hell.
“It was what they told me to be doing that I was doing,” Evans said.
Earlier, while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Ms O.N. Sonuga, Evans said, “I do not know Slyvanus Ahamonu, I only met him at the IG Guest House in Falomo.
“One day at the IG Guest House, the police brought some documents and asked me to sign. I asked what the documents were for, they didn’t answer me. They said that if I didn’t cooperate with them they would kill me.
“When I refused, Inspector Philip asked them to take me to the back of the guest house. When I got there, they were pressing cigarette butts on my body.”
He said he saw the people he was paraded with in Ikeja, “and they said l will see what will happen to those people; that it is better I sign those documents.
“They killed about six persons in my presence and I signed the document, I was not allowed to read it. I think it is the document that was used to bring me to court.
“I do not know anything about the allegations before this court. I don’t know who Ahamonu is. I only met him at the IG Guest House; I had no prior contact with him.”
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned till March 11 for continuation of trial.