Wherever you are, please, lift your hands and pray for the ‘notorious kidnapper,’ “Evans” Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, the man whose Igbo native names roughly translate as “God-leads-me-in-whatever-I-do” (for Chukwudumeme), “Death-is-no respecter-of-a-warrior/great man” (Onwuamadike).
He needs prayer, a lot of it, following his formal arraignment along his gang members, in court, this week, on multiple charges of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition filed against him by the Force Legal Department and Lagos State Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja; with subsequent ones coming up at the Federal High Court and Edo State High Court, Benin.
While the arraignment, on Wednesday, centred on his abduction of Mr. Donatus Dunu from whom he and his gang members collected N150 million before he escaped from their custody, 13 other substantive cases, nine in Lagos, and four in Edo, carrying 52 charges in all, are set to be brought against him and his gang, with time. You can see why he badly needs prayers. So? Could you, kindly close your eyes and pray for him!
Time to beg victims
While you are at it, Evans says he is ready, God helping him out of this one, not only to repent but also to do the necessary penance. He will apologise to his victims if he meets them in court, he promises in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun. “I will,” he swears. “I have been begging them. When they came to interview me, I knelt down and begged them. I am still begging them to forgive me.”
So? In your prayers, ask God to touch his victims to forgive him. Yes, as he forgave those who called him a billionaire. “I am not a billionaire,” he responded when you asked whether he is truly a billionaire like news headlines and reports are trying to present him. “It’s just because of the kind of money I collected from the victims, that is why they decided to refer to me as a billionaire.”
Evans a pastor?
And, please, let somebody shout Hallelujah fourteen times. Asked if given a chance, he would like to become a pastor, he answers that he is already one. He regrets his action and tries to emphasise that point over and over in this interview with him and he promises to be a changed person. Even before this time, he was not really as bad as people are trying to paint him. None of his victims was tortured nor killed in the process, he pointed out.
“The only time that someone died (during his operations) was during the attempted kidnap of the chairman of The Young Shall Grow Motors,” he swears. “During that operation, we were attacked and there was exchange of gunshots. They shot at us and my gang members shot back at them. It was in the morning that I heard that one inspector and the driver who drove the Young Shall Grow chairman died. It was an unfortunate incident. I have totally regretted everything about crime. It does not pay. I keep telling people to learn from my story. Crime does not pay. Everything I acquired all these years are gone just in a day. I will be an agent of change in prison.”
Oh boy! “I already have a covenant with God. If police take me to court, I told God that I will not tell lies against the police or victims. I promise to tell the court the truth about any crime that I am guilty of. Please, people of Nigeria should forgive me.”
Ready to pay for his sins
With 14 cases, 52 charges or whatever hanging on his neck, he is ready to plead guilty to them all if doing so will help get him off the hook, he assures you. “Yes, I will,” he says, looking directly into your eyes. “I want to do so because I don’t want those lawyers to be deceiving me. I don’t want them to mislead me.” Asked about the lawyer defending him on the case, he said: “I don’t know how he came about the matter.” May God take power from the devil, you almost found yourself saying like Mama Joe, a character in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Purple Hibiscus, is wont to say. So he is not going to accept the lawyer’s help if he meets him in court? He curtly replies no before adding that he is hoping to get a lighter sentence.
This is to believe that you are still praying for Evans! Please, what point are you in your prayers for him? What exactly are you asking God to do for him? “I just believe in God for a miracle,” he tells you. “I will serve God all my life. I also promised the police that I will help them to fight crime.”
If I die, I die
In addition, he is asking forgiveness from his victims. “I will continue to beg them to forgive me even if they attempt to kill me and If I have to die, then I die”, he says. You guess he has not seen his wife and kids since he was arrested, you told him. What message would he want you to give to them? “I want you to tell them that I am still alive and healthy. They should simply pray for me that the court will not sentence me to death.”
…How HE betrayed us – Gang members
As Nigerians await the trial of billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans, some of his gang members have accused him of not keeping to their oath of secrecy.
It was gathered that Evans assisted the police to nab several members of his gang including his informants. He also handed over with ease to the police two serving soldiers who actively participated in most of the kidnap operations that he organised.
Among those arrested is Eric Ezeala, another notorious kidnapper and armed robber who owns several mansions in Abuja, Lagos and Imo State. During interrogation by the police, he accused Evans of not keeping to their oath of secrecy if caught.
Also in police custody are two persons who provided all the information needed to kidnap some of his victims. Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu was the one who allegedly gave information of how and where to find the Pharmacist Donatus Duno and two others who were abducted by Evans.
Recall that Duno was the victim who escaped from Evans hideout in Igando area of Lagos, a development which gave the police a clue as to how to track and end the reign of terror by Evans and his gang.
Another informant, Chiemeka Arinze admitted to the police that he was the brain behind the attempted kidnap of the Chairman of Young Shall Grow Motors, Vincent Obianodo. The two serving soldiers were identified as Corporal Victor Chukwunonso and Corporal Chilaka Ifeanyi. They have now been dismissed by the army and handed over to the police for prosecution.
Next is Udeme Frank Ubong who supplies arms to Evans. The suspect, according to the police fled Lagos when the news of Evans arrest hit the newsstand.
And Evans got VIP treatment
After the miraculous arrest of Evans, Saturday Sun gathered that he had given up hope of survival because of the extent of terror he unleashed on his victims. Evans was known to have chained and blindfolded all his victims for several months.
At first, he swore that he was going to take his secrets to the grave. Evans had told Saturday Sun reporter who had an opportunity to interview him a day after he was arrested that it is finished. “I have five children and since I am likely going to die, let me save some money for them,” he had said.
Evans became a Very Important Person (VIP) when the media learnt about his arrest. Every media house both local and international wanted to talk to him. He became an instant celebrity. “Even as policemen, we were cautious of the fact that if anything happens to Evans, some policemen might lose their jobs. This was one of the reasons he was moved to Abuja where he was kept in a VIP cell. No one wanted any sort of scandal because his arrest was seen as one of the greatest achievements of IGP Ibrahim Idris”, a police officer disclosed.
Evans who claims to have cancer of the stomach got all the medical attention he needed while in police custody. In exchange for his safety, he helped the police to track and arrest about 15 members of his gang.
“It was a great harvest although some of them are still on the run. He gave the police all the information needed to track the remaining members of his gang who are still on the run. Evans despite how hardened he is, is a good father. One of his greatest concerns was to live and watch his children grow. He was ready to remain in prison and have the opportunity to see his children.
He told us that he needs to personally tell his children the story of his life. He was concerned that if he does not live to talk to his children especially his sons, they might be worse than him. We were even shocked Evans pleaded guilty. He knew that he was safer inside prison than to witness the wrath of family and friends of his victims. He also told me that as long as his victims are aware that he is alive and paying for his crime, they could spare his children. Above all, taking him to court was a big relief, because it was very expensive to feed and buy his drugs”, a police source stated.
Obviously aware that nemesis has caught up with them, informants told the police their role in the successful execution of Evans kidnap operations. Okwuchukwu popularly known as Baba Eko claimed that he was under spell and it only dawned on him that what he was doing is evil when he was arrested by the police.
On his exploits with Evans, he recalled that their relationship dates back to 2013. “I was in my shop at Trade Fair Complex in Lagos State when Evans whom I know as Somtochukwu just walked up to my stand and said he wanted to buy re
charge card. I used to sell recharge card back then” he said
“I was about giving him the quantity of recharge card that he requested for when he suddenly asked if I was from Anambra State. I said yes and he embraced me and said that he is from Anambra too. He started complaining and asked if I knew one Okoye who is from my town. He complained bitterly that the man is owing him. I told him that it is not possible because, I know the man very well. I told him that the Okoye I knew is very rich. Weeks later, I learnt that he was kidnapped. I did not suspect him at all.
“He later came to my shop and said that he wants to buy a perfume. I took him to the Ucheson’s shop because he is an authentic dealer in original perfume. I told him that Ucheson is very rich and one of the most successful men at the Trade-fair and also from Anambra State. He asked me to let him know when the man will be going home, it never occurred to me that he had a bad intention. I gave him the information as soon as I noticed him leaving.”
Baba Eko claimed that he was shocked when Evans opened up to him that he is a professional kidnapper. “A week later, he came and gave me one million naira. I was so excited because I had told him that I needed financial assistance .It was after that he came again and gave me money. I assumed that he wanted to assist me because I told him that I was defrauded. It was then that he told me that he is a kidnapper and was the one who picked Ucheson and Okoye.
“I was shocked but since I needed money, I decided to play along. The next week, he gave me another one million naira and N700, 000 and finally N350, 000. Months later, he came to tell me that he is interested in picking Duno, the pharmacist. I knew that I will gain a lot if he succeeded, so I gave him all the information that he needed. I gave him Duno’s phone number and also gave him his vehicle number plate and his schedule. I assured him that the man is very rich. I was still waiting for my share when we heard on the news that he escaped.”
Insisting that he was under a spell, Baba Eko said that he never approached Evans with any information. “He was the one that normally came to me for information and I will give him. I unknowingly gave him information on Okoye . It was Ucheson and Duno that I voluntarily offered to provide information that will help him easily kidnap them. So far, I collected about N3million from him before I was caught.”
Another informant, Chiemeka Arinze aged 39 was arrested on July 27, 2017. Arinze, a native of Oba village in Idemili local government area of Anambra state was arrested in Lagos. He confessed that he was the one who brought the job of kidnapping Chief Vincent Obianodo, owner of Young Shall Grow Motors in 2013. He further confessed that he personally monitored Obianodo’s movement for weeks before the gang led by Evans finally struck.
Eric Ezeala aged 42 and popularly known as Baba Kekere is alleged to be one of the boys that Evans trained. Eric who is still under investigation told the police that his relationship with Evans dates back to 2015.
“After the death of my father in 1985, life became so difficult that I had to drop out of secondary school. Sometime in 1989, I relocated to Lagos and started learning how to become a mechanic. After two years, I was able to raise some money and start my own shop where I sold food stuffs. I did that for five years. I saved money and decided to relocate to Australia. I was unlucky and fell into the trap of a fraudster who collected my money and disappeared.
“As a mechanic, I learnt how to construct master key that can be used to open cars. During that time, I got to meet some boys who I assisted to construct such keys. I knew what they were doing with those keys but I decided not to report them or stop helping them because they were paying so much money.
“After I lost everything to the travel agent, I decided to join those boys to steal cars. Initially, what we normally do is just to ransack the car and pick every valuable in it including parts of the car that could be sold. It was a good business and I made a lot of money from that. I knew how to construct the key, so naturally I became their leader. I had so much money that I could travel to Dubai on vacation with my wife and children. I also built a Bungalow in Agege area of Lagos.
“I was running my show till sometime in 2015 when I met Evans at Lagos international airport. He told me that he is a drug baron and we exchanged numbers and continued communicating”
According to Eric, their new found relationship started yielding a lot of money after Evans decided to use his house as his hideout. “Weeks after we met, he called me that he was coming to my house with some persons. When they arrived, I discovered that one of them was blindfolded and they were all armed.
Evans told me that the man was owing him and that he will detain him until he pays his debt. I am not a child so I insisted that he should tell me the truth. He opened up and I allowed him to use my house as long as I will get my own share of the ransom. My wife and my children are based in Abuja, so there was no distraction. Days later after the man regained his freedom, I was given N1.5million. He used my house severally, and I was paid not less than a million on each occasion.
“I have my own gang and we hardly kidnap people, our own specialty is to use master key to steal cars and sell them. We also target very rich persons and when we enter their cars, the valuables that we get when sold give us more money than selling the car. There was a case where we got thousands of dollars and when converted gave us about N8 million.”
On the list of houses confiscated by the police, Ezeala said that he bought the land from the proceeds from his food stuff business. “I only used the proceeds from robbery and kidnapping to build it to this standard. When I learnt that Evans had been arrested, I quickly sold my house in Lagos for N8million and relocated to Abuja. I expected Evans to keep his mouth shut but unfortunately he gave them (police) my name.”
When informed that Evans had pleaded guilty in court, Eric screamed, “It is not possible. I am not surprised, Evans betrayed us”