Donatus Dunu, managing director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Lagos, on Friday told an Ikeja high court how he was kept in chains for 88 days by the gang of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike the billionaire kidnapper better known as Evans.
Led in evidence by Titilayo Shitta-Bey, director of public prosecutions (DPP) in Lagos, Dunu spoke for four hours.
He started by identifying his alleged captors.
“I know this one he is Evans, I know the second one he is Uche and I know the fourth one he is Congo,” he said as he narrated how he was captured.
“At 7.30 p.m. when I closed from work, I was going home along Obokun Street, Ilupeju, Lagos. I suddenly saw an SUV in front of my car, I wanted to reverse but two people came out of the SUV holding long guns.
“They pointed the long guns at me and dragged me out of my car and pushed into the booth of the SUV, covering me with a car cover, someone lay on top of me and I was taken to an unknown place.
“On our way, they brought out a locally made iron and bound my hands with and when we had reached the unknown place and while face down I was taken to a bungalow.My hands were bound with locally made iron and my legs were bound with shackles used for madmen.
“In the parlour of the house, they started asking for my name, my wife and children’s name as well as the name of my hometown. After telling them, their chairman asked them to bring guns, a very long gun and a black and silver pistol was brought, they showed me the guns and Ak47 was written on the long gun. They said now that I have said all these things, it is confirmed that I am the person that they are looking for and I have to pay the bail.
“Their chairman said that I should give them their money and that it has to be complete and that nothing must remain.
“The chairman is Evans, he is their boss, after they made their demands they put me in a dark room. Their money was the money that they wanted to take from me, they had not mentioned any amount at this point. When I was taken to the dark room, I was asked to remove my clothes and I was given a pair of boxer short to wear and I was blindfolded where I remained till April 10.
“That night, they brought a phone that their chairman wanted to speak to me, the chairman told me that I was nobody on earth can bring me out that it is only God that will bring me out.
“He said that if I should prove stubborn, he will give me an injection that will make me forget myself in life and that he can also ask his boys to use the pillow to suffocate me that no one will know about it.
“A week later, I told the boys that I want to speak to their chairman and the next day they brought a phone to me that their chairman wanted to speak to me. He asked where I have warehouses and he also asked me why I used to go to Alaka Estate in Surulere, I told him I have a friend there but one of my warehouses are in Eriaka Street and I have two other warehouses in Alao Estate, Lagos.
“He asked for the addresses and I told him I didn’t know the addresses, he told me that he heard that I gave my staff 40 Toyota Corolla cars and he heard I pay my graduate staff N50, 000 per month. I told him yes that the N50, 000 was for their take home but it was like a contract that if they make their target for the sale of goods, they earn a commission.”
Dunu said Evans later told him that he would not regain freedom until his family paid a ransom of $1 million.
The pharmacist said some days later Evans changed his mind and requested for one million Euros.
Dunu said when he told his elder brother about the ransom, he started crying, wondering where they were going to get the money.
“After about three days, I was told my bill is no longer $1 million but €1 million euros, that he has gotten more information about me. That night he called again and asked for my brother’s phone number and I gave him,” he said.
“They called my brother and were beating me so that he will hear my cry and told me that I should tell him I have agreed to pay €1 million and I told my brother.
“My brother told them they have been able to change up to €223,000 and he asked me to tell my brother to make it €250,000 and my brother informed me that it will take additional N11 million to get the remaining €27,000 and that it took them two months to get the €223,000 that it’s not easy to raise such money.
“I was in a very bad condition when we were negotiating the ransom, they removed my mattress and I was made to sleep on the tiled floor.
“Anytime they called my brother they will beat me for him to hear my cries, I told my brother to get to know sources where we can borrow money from.
“At a point he said they were able to raise N60 million that when I come out, they will get the remaining money from me. He said I and my brother are talking rubbish and that he should change the money into euro as agreed.
“There was a time the naira appreciated so much sometime in March last year that he (Evans) asked not to change it to Euros anymore. Later when the naira depreciated, he asked them to go back to Euros, I pleaded with him that Euros was hard to change and his boys later told me to ask for a discount.
“He agreed to a 50 percent discount and my bail was reduced from 1 million euros to 500,000 Euros.”
He said on Wednesday before 2017 Easter, Evans agreed to reduce his ransom to 250,000 euros.
He said on Easter Monday, he overheard two of his captors plotting to kill him at a canal on the Friday of that week.
Dunu said at 3am on the Thursday preceding his planned murder, he escaped from captivity.
“There was a bed sheet on the bed and as a joke, I wrapped it around the leg shackles and the padlocks opened,” he said.
“At that point, I said to myself I will go, if I stay they will kill me, if they catch me while trying to escape they will still kill me, I might as well go.
“The other person who was to guard me was asleep on a settee in the parlour, the fan was on and was so noisy.
“The wooden kitchen door was not locked but the burglary proof was locked, I unlocked the upper and lower bolts and when I pushed the burglary proof that locks slid from the hook.
“In the compound, there was something like a ladder leaning on the fence and the top portion of the fence where the ladder was did not have bottles.
“I jumped over the fence into another compound and knocked on a window and told the man that responded my problem. He said that he did not know me that I should get away from their compound or they will call the police or security and I asked him to call the police.
“The man and his wife got up from their bed and brought out their phones to call the police; at that point NEPA took light and they went back to bed.
“Something told me to hide and not long after past 6.00 a.m., they started looking for me in their big bike and Toyota Hiace.
“The people I jumped into their compound woke up and saw me hiding, I asked the woman to put me in the booth of their Honda Accord car and get me away.
“She said No that the only thing they could do for me is to call the chairman of the area.
“There are two families living in that compound, a small boy of about 20 to 22 years came out with a plastic pipe and chased me away that I am a thief.”
He said he went to a nearby nursery school where he drew the attention of members of the public because of his unkempt appearance.
He said after his ordeal, Evans and his accomplices asked him for forgiveness.
Dunu while being cross-examined by Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, Evans’ lawyer, said that he made a mistake by giving conflicting dates of February 14, 2017, and April 14, 2017, as the date of his kidnap in his statement to the police.
He also said that while writing his statement after his release, he was unaware that a ransom had been paid.
Hakeem Oshodi, the judge, adjourned the case till May 10 for a continuation of trial.