If Wishes Were Horses... Please, prosecute Evans in Lagos

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Evans the kidnap kingpin was given an hero's welcome at the police headquarters

The arrested notorious kidnap kingpin should be granted his wishes of being charged to a court; but it should be in Lagos.

When the notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) on June 10, 2017, and paraded in the premises of the Lagos State Police Command the next day, he cut the picture of fear stricken criminal who knows his end has come.

Evans who was described is one of the most dangerous and deadly criminals in the country, cut the picture of a frightened, nervous, and worried rabbit who had been cornered and knows that his end has come.

Even in one of his confessions, Evans was quoted as saying that he was about to commit suicide when the police came after him, knowing that he would not be treated fairly by the force owing to his many crimes and perceived atrocities.

The story of Evans soon became the most viral stories with his purported confessions coming on a daily basis, keeping Nigerians updated on his daily life in the police cell. In fact, Evans was elevated to the status of a celebrity and very few individuals hugged the headlines as much as Evans did in the three weeks he has been in detention.

 

ALSO READ: "Kidnap Kingpin: Evans sues police over illegal detention, human rights abuse"

Journalists had the best of times reporting stories about the notorious suspect while bloggers latched on to any piece of information, real or made up, as long as it concerned him, so as to increase their traffic.

But suddenly, the panicky, worried, and intimidated figure Evans had cut at his parade, soon gave way to an arrogance and effrontery never known with criminal suspect, especially one that has had so much attention and is seen as guilty beyond doubt in the minds of Nigerians.

Evans temerity and boldness in suing the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command, before a Federal High Court in Lagos State, for unlawful detention and infringement of his fundamental human rights is either a show of an audacity stemming from his past life of not having anyone dictate to him or that of a man having a large clout and backing.

But one thing is clear here: Evans has every right to sue the police for a violation of his human rights [forget the argument that he did not think of the rights of his kidnap victims when they were in his captivity].

As far as the Nigerian Constitution is concerned, Evans is still presumed innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of justice. The Constitution also stipulates that a suspect must be charged to court within 24 hours of his arrest.

 

So detaining Evans this long is a serious trampling of his human rights. However, the Force Public Relations Officer [FPRO], CSP Jimoh Moshood, has come out to say that the police had obtained a court injunction to detain him for three months while investigations continue.

This is typical of Nigerian security agencies who arrest a suspect before embarking on investigations, thereby subjecting the suspect to untold hardship, mental and physical torture.

Evans did not just stop at suing the police over his illegal detention, he is also demanding the sum of N300 million as general and exemplary damages against the police for alleged illegal detention and unconstitutional media trial.

Evans' major quest is for the police to charged him to court if they have any case against him or they should release him.

In reality, Evans is not asking for too much. What he is simply telling the police is that they should hurry up with their investigations and charge him to a court so that he can either plead guilty or not.

If the police has a case against Evans, they should hurry up and prosecute him in Lagos State, especially on the charges of kidnapping. After all, most of the high profile kidnappings were done in Lagos and he was caught inside his palatial Magodo GRA home in Lagos.

He had his detention camps in Lagos and collected the huge ransoms in Lagos which is within the jurisdiction of courts in Lagos.

The laws of Lagos State stipulates the death penalty for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody, and life imprisonment for the act of kidnapping and if the police have a water tight case against him.

 

In signing the bill into law on January 5, 2015, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had said that kidnapping had become a major threat to the safety of residents of the state and, therefore, required decisive action by the government.

“This law imposes a penalty of life imprisonment for kidnapping for ransom. The law stipulates that, where a victim dies in the course of kidnapping, the suspect is liable on conviction to death.

ALSO READ: "Like Father, Like Son: Evans dad files 27-point affidavit supporting his lawsuit against police"

Security is of utmost importance to our administration, and we are confident that this law will serve as a deterrent to anybody, who may desire to engage in this wicked act within the boundaries of Lagos State.

Our justice system will be required to execute this law to the letter and make sure that any criminal caught faces the full wrath of the law.”

 

So Evans should be granted his one wish of being charged to court in Lagos, after all, hs is still presumed innocent until the court says otherwise.



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