Self-confessed kidnapper, Chukwudubem Onwuamadike, alias Evans, was forced to plead guilty to kidnap charges before a Lagos High Court on Wednesday, his lawyer has claimed.
Olukoya Ogungbeje, the lawyer to Evans, who will face trial on October 19, said in a statement that “police told him to plead guilty, failure to which the police will kill him”.
The kidnap kingpin along with four other men and one woman are accused of kidnapping one Dunu Donatus in February, holding him for 57 days and receiving a 223,000 euros ransom.
Policemen jostled to take selfies with the defendants in chaotic scenes before Wednesday’s hearing began.
Evans, 36, was arrested in a major police sting in June and has since been held in detention along with his alleged accomplices.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi ordered that he be remanded in custody until the start of the trial.
The group appeared in the High Court in Lagos looking solemn and cramped in the small dark wood panelled dock where they were flanked by members of the security forces.
Evans’ defence team allege that he has been denied access to his lawyer and family and that they were only made aware of Wednesday’s hearing through social media.
“We intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure for hoodwinking, undue influence, brainwashing and coercion,” said the statement by Ogungbeje.
Police staged a media visit to Evans’ home shortly after his arrest in which he explained his methods, highlighting the life of luxury he enjoyed in Nigeria’s commercial capital.
In another interview with Channels TV in June, Evans revealed the meticulous planning that went into kidnap operations and how targets were selected.
“Anybody that is rich, you will know that he is rich. I have people that give me information,” said Evans, who is a well-known figure in the Lagos criminal underworld according to local media.
“We would carry the man; put them inside the motor and go.
“The highest money we have collected is from somebody living in Festac (Lagos) – $1 million.”
Evans denied having personally murdered during kidnap operations.
“It is not me that killed. I don’t kill,” he said, adding he was unsure if his accomplices had.
Dozens of heavily armed officers surrounded Evans as he was transferred from the courtroom back to prison on Wednesday.