The convicts were arraigned sometimes in 2013 alongside three others: Uche Igbani, 28, Chibuzor Osuagwu, 33 and a 36-year-old woman, Onowu Ngozi, on a 14 count-charge bothering on conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.
Tribune recalls that a 34-year-old Director with Ocean Glory, Paul Cole, was kidnapped on August 3rd, 2012, at Festac Town, alongside his General Manager, Jude Ugoje, and another staff, Piriye Gogo, and taken to an unknown destination by Evans and his gang members.
Narrating her ordeal, before the court, Miss Gogo said that the three men accosted them with rifles on their way home and that she was almost raped inside the car, but was saved by her monthly menstrual period.
Gogo, during her evidence-in-chief, said that during the abduction, one of the kidnappers, Obasi, came into the car, after dragging her boss out for negotiation at an undisclosed location, and started fondling with her breast.
“He came into the car, tore my clothes, pulled down a side of my bra and began caressing my breast. He thereafter started dragging down my shirt and I began begging him. I begged him until I had nothing else I could plead with. I begged him intensely for mercy and even told him that I was menstruating.
“It was as though all my pleas fail on deaf ears, I had to insert my hand into my vagina just to show him. The blood I showed him prevented him from raping me. It was a terrible experience.
“He thereafter asked whether Mr Jude was the owner of the company. And I replied that we were just clearing agents. They also seized our mobile phones, jewellery and money.
“They blindfolded Mr Jude, brought him back into the car, asked me to face down with my eyes closed, and then drove off to another location. They spoke Igbo almost all the time so I could barely understand what they were saying or taking us to.
“While driving off to the other location, they asked if I could drive, I said no. So they dropped down from the car and took Mr Jude with them. They ordered me to face down and not look at their faces or I will be shot dead. They abandoned me and the Honda pilot car at 2nd bridge alongside Expressway, where I waited until I saw a police patrol and flagged them.
“I narrated what happened to them and the immediately radioed Festac Police station,” she said.
Mr Jude, who also testified before the court, said that his abductors initially ordered him to pay N10m for his release but after much negotiations, they collected N5m.
Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced Ukoh and Obasi to 5, 15 and 21 years for conspiracy, kidnapping and armed robbery respectively, while the other three were discharged and acquitted by court.
Justice Taiwo said that the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt the nexus linking the other three: Igbani, Osuagwu, Ngozi to the alleged charges of murder, conspiracy, Kidnapping and armed robbery.
The judge also noted that the prosecution could not present any evidence of murder as charged against all the defendants, aside from their confessional statements.
While Igbani and Osuagwu claimed they were arrested on their way to work, Ngozi said that Udoh, her brother’s friend, brought police to her house to arrest her brother, who was at large but now deceased.
Ngozi said when the police couldn’t find her brother, she was arrested instead.