The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of G.U.O Motors Limited, Chief Godwin Ubaka Okeke yesterday told an Onitsha High Court presided over by Justice Chudi Nwankwo how he managed to disarm one of his kidnappers, Emeka Eze (a.k.a Emeka Nando), the second-in-command of the deadly gang that kidnapped him at the premises of the All Saints Anglican Church Cathedral, Onitsha, Anambra State on August 23, 2009, before they eventually over-powered him.
He recalled that they actually brutalized him with human bites, hit him with machetes, gun butts and other objects all over his body and even shot him on the left leg while he was struggling with them at the kidnap point but that the one that gave him serious wound, apart from the bullet shot, was the machete cut inflicted to him by Ifeanyi Okafor, the second defendant on his left hand.
Okeke who disclosed this yesterday during a continuation of his cross-examination by Barrister D. U. Nwafor, counsel to second defendant, Ifeanyi Okafor, maintained that they attacked him with different types of weapons and even gave him human bites when he disarmed Emeka Eze and they all fell down but that the machete cut inflicted on him at their hideout by Okafor who became furious that he (Okeke) reduced his N1 billion earlier offer to only N30 million, was the one that gave him serious wound and he used his handkerchief to control the blood-letting.
On the question about his written statement at the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters, Awkuzu, dated January 8, 2010 in which he wrote as follows: “They fired me on my left leg and gave me several machete cuts on my hand”, Okeke replied: “My Lord, I told this court few minutes ago that they attacked me with several weapons, hit me all over the body and even gave me human bite, but the only one that gave me this serious wound on my left hand was the second defendant’s machete cut”.
Also in another question put across to him by the defence counsel, D. U. Nwafor which read thus: “From the time you were kidnapped at All Saints Church to the time you were released, did any of them give you cut in your hand?” and he answered: “To the best of my knowledge, my Lord, it was only that cut from the second defendant that gave me a serious wound, but the second defendant is here and he is in a better position to tell the court how many cuts he gave to me”.
Another question from the defence counsel came up thus: ” Did you make a statement to SARS at Awkuzu on January 8, 2010?”. Okeke replied: “I made several statements at Awkuzu but I can’t remember their dates”.
Again, Nwafor asked him: “How many statements did you make to the police altogether and he replied: “About four or five different statements but I can’t remember all their contents because all my kidnappers were arrested on different dates”.
At this stage, the defence counsel applied to tender a Certified True Copy, CTC of Okeke’s statement to SARS dated January 8, 2010 as an exhibit, but the prosecution counsel, Barrister Chris Ajugwe, relying on Section 232 of the Evidence Act. 2011, raised an objection on the ground that the proper foundation had not been laid on tendering a previous statement as evidence in court, more so, when the defence counsel had not adduced any cogent eason for making such an application.
Justice Nwankwo who however admitted the statement as an evidence which he marked as Exhibit ‘C’, said the statement so admitted as an evidence may not play much role at this early stage, adding that it could only be considered during the stage of judgement writing.
The court therefore adjourned further hearing of the matter till today, Tuesday, December 3, Wednesday, December 4 and Thursday, December 5, for further cross-examinations of Okeke, the first Prosecution Witness, PW1, by both the second defence counsel, Nwafor and the third defence counsel, Chinelo Okongwu.