Suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, aka Evans, yesterday, created a scene at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, when he pleaded that prison authorities should not starve him to death.
Evans, who is facing trial before the court over charges bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, refused to alight from the prison vehicle, otherwise known as Black Maria, to enter the courtroom, until the trial judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, ordered the prison warders to bundle him into the courtroom.
Before the judge gave the order, the senior prison officer who led the warders informed the court that Evans had been proving tough to handle in custody. He added that he even refused to follow them from prison but he was eventually dragged into the vehicle by force.
Evans, who came to court barefooted, broke down in tears, saying he was tired of life. He complained that he had not been well fed in detention at Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison.
Explaining the reason for his behaviour, he said: “What have I done to you people that you have been beating me? No good food. I have been locked up in one place since August 30. Why are they taking my case personal? They have been maltreating me, no visitation. Currently, I have an eye problem and I cannot see far objects. Let me face my trial alive. Why do you people want to kill me?”
However, the prison warder denied all the allegations, insisting that Evans was being catered for, like every other inmate, and that he had been seeing a doctor since he complained about his health.
“We have been treating him very well. He is well fed and people have been visiting him. Doctor has been checking him; the doctor came to check him yesterday and even this morning before coming to court.
“This morning, he said he was not feeling fine and didn’t want to go to court, but the doctor that checked him yesterday and this morning confirmed that he was healthy, and there was no reason why he wouldn’t be in court,” the warder said.
But Evans interrupted the prison warder, claiming that it was a nurse that came to check on him, not a doctor. He added that he was only allowed one visit.
The second defendant’s counsel, Ogedi Ogu, also told the court that his client had also been complaining of the same thing.
In her response to the alleged maltreatment of the defendants, the Lagos State Director for Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said that Evans was just making it up, as he was being treated well. She added that a doctor has also been attending to him.
She said: “That was the same thing he said before an Ikeja High Court and we wrote the prisons and they wrote us back that he was being taken care of like every other inmate.”
Justice Akintoye, however, asked the prisons to ensure that he was well taken care of like the other inmates, adding that the defendants were still presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The trial was adjourned till May 25.