The absence of convicted kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a. Evans, on Wednesday, stalled a suit filed against him by a kidnap victim, Donatus Duru.
Mr Duru had, in 2018, filed the suit before the Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, demanding a refund of the £223,000 he allegedly paid as ransom to Evans while in his custody.
Mr Duru also demands N50 million from Evans as damages for his abduction.
Evans’ counsel, Amobi Nzelu, reminded the court on Wednesday that on the last adjourned date, June 29, it granted his application to become counsel to the defendant.
Mr Nzelu said he consequently wrote a letter to the court requesting that the Nigeria Correctional Service be directed to produce the defendant in court on Wednesday.
The counsel said he was surprised that the defendant was not produced in court.
However, Mr Duru’s counsel, D. O. Obiora, said the case was adjourned until Wednesday for the defence to open its case.
Mr Obiora said a copy of the letter was not served on him.
Justice Kayode Ogunjobi held that the letter was not acted upon by the court’s registrar, ruling that proceedings would not go on because the defendant was not in court.
He adjourned the case until October 12 for the defence to open its case.
On the last adjourned date, the judge granted the defendant’s application to change his counsel and amend his defence statement.
The defendant was represented by a lawyer in March 2019 and was accorded an opportunity to defend himself but failed to do so.
When the claimant closed his case on March 3, 2022, the defendant sought leave of court to defend himself.
According to Evans, he has been in prison custody since August 2017 and was not aware of the pendency of the action.