A businesswoman, Mrs Chimebere Ahamonu, has narrated to an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos State, how she raised a ransom of $420,000 for the release of her husband, Mr Sylvanus Ahamon, allegedly abducted by a suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike aka Evans.
Sylvanus was reportedly kidnapped on June 23, 2014 on Kara Road, off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate.
Chimebere, who gave her testimony via Zoom on Friday during the continuation of the trial of Evans and a dismissed member of the Nigerian Army, Victor Aduba, said she had spoken to her husband in the morning of the fateful day, but did not sense anything amiss until evening when Sylvanus’ phone rang out.
She said, “Then, I was not living in Lagos, I was in Onitsha. I started calling everyone we knew that I did not hear from him. A week later, a man called my line with a hidden number (and said) that my husband was kidnapped. Another week later, the same man called me and demanded $2m for his release. I shouted because I have never seen that kind of money before. I started calling family and well wishers for help.”
Chimebere said the same man called her after another week, demanding the ransom but she pleaded she could only raise N5m, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
“He said that I was not serious and that if I do not come up with the $2m, I am not ready to see my husband alive. He said even if it is $100,000 I should bring it,” she said.
The businesswoman said that she sold property, sought donations from family and friends and managed to raise $200,000 which she sent to her brother-in-law, Dominic, for onward payment to the caller.
She said she received a phone call a week later and the caller demanded more money, warning her not to send Dominic to deliver any ransom because he had reported them to the police.
Chimebere said she raised another $200,000 and came to Lagos to drop the ransom alongside a relation at an agreed spot.
She added, “After dropping the $200,000, he called me again to demand some more money. I told him I have no more money and that people were even calling me a scam because of the way I was appealing for funds. I managed to raise another $20,000 and it was after that my husband was released.”
Following her evidence, the prosecutor announced that the state would be closing its case against Evans and Aduba.
In his testimony, Sylvanus told the court how he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and made to pay $420,000 ransom by Evans and his gang members.
When he was asked to identify Evans, who was standing in the dock alongside Aduba, he said, “I know him; that is Evans.”
He, however, was unable to identify Aduba.
Ahamonu said he was returning to his residence from work in his car when his driver was waylaid by about three men in police and military uniforms, who claimed to be men of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
He said, “Evans came into my car brandishing an AK-47 rifle. He was wearing three-quarter jean trousers. I saw his face, he cannot deny it. The men in army and police uniforms were beating me. They said I was wanted by SARS.
“Their bus was parked close by and they took me into the bus, put me on the floor and covered my head. They placed their feet on my head throughout the trip. After about two or three hours, they transferred me to a Sienna car and took me to a building where they handcuffed my hands and legs and began interrogating me about my personal life and business.”
NAN reports that Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until February 4, 2022, for continuation of trial.