Shock and disbelief are what aptly describe
the feelings of residents of Magodo GRA, Phase II, in Lagos where the kidnap kingpin, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike popularly known as Evans lived before the long arm of the law caught up with him.
The name Evans needs
no introduction as so many Nigerians currently have become aware of the alleged kidnapper’s activities.
For years, he evaded arrest because there was no evidence to nail him. Evans, until his arrest, was said to be the leader of what many have termed as “the most organized criminal outfit in Nigeria so far.”
Evans, aged 36, who is from Anambra State with the help of his gang, terrorized Lagos residents, especially those in Festac Town for many years.
However, luck ran out on him when he was arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, led by ACP Abba Kyari, at 1.00pm on June 10, 2017, in his residence at Magodo Estate, Lagos.
As soon as the policemen broke into his room to arrest him, it was reported that he said, “I know this is the end of me. I am finished.”
The Next Edition
took a trip to Magodo, where he lived and spoke with residents in the estate to know how they felt when they discovered that Evans, the kidnap kingpin, was their neighbour and also what they knew about him.
It was a sunny afternoon in the estate as the usual activities of buses conveying passengers around the estate was in place. It didn’t have the look of where an alleged criminal would live. It has the ambience of a secured and peaceful environment where you hear the sounds of birds twittering.
At the entrance of the estate, there is heavy security presence. However, based on the findings of The Next Edition coupled with the Evans saga, the security men are only there to guard anyone who lives there not really minding what they do. As one of the security men at the gate put it. “Our job here is to secure the estate. We don’t know the activities of many of residents. Evans was a criminal whose activities were outside this estate. When it comes to securing in this estate, we are doing our best. It isn’t our job to go from house to house asking who is who.”
Right at the entrance are buses lined to take passengers to their destinations. Unlike the security men, the drivers were more willing to speak with The Next Edition. One of them who gave his name as Umoru said, “Some of the big men here don’t have anything doing. They wake up in the morning and jog, buy newspapers and then go back inside. We don’t see them going to work. I am not in a position to judge but I think it is very important for everyone to know his neighbour.”
It was also learnt that Evans used to jog almost every morning from his house to the main gate and back to his house. When asked about his countenance, the bus driver said that he was a gentle looking man who kept a straight face and minded his business. “As you can see, this is a very big and quiet estate,” he said, adding “Most of us didn’t even know his name until he was arrested. We see him here jogging in the morning like every other big man in this area. He used to greet people he saw around. But most of the times, he would keep to himself. We never had the slightest inkling that he could be dangerous,” he said.
Some neighbours spoke with The Next Edition
on condition of anonymity due to what they described as “security implications.” One of the neighbours, who gave his name simply as Madam KK said, “Evans was a law abiding resident in the estate who paid his dues promptly in order to avoid embarrassment. He never wanted anything that could give him away as a criminal. When it comes to estate dues, he was among the first to pay. But the thing he avoided the most was estate meetings. Evans didn’t like attending estate meetings.”
A resident of the estate, Nurudeen Lawal, who grew up there before relocating to Ilorin last year, told the Next Edition
that he used to see Evans like every other person in the estate. He said, “In my wildest imagination, I wouldn’t have suspected that I was living close to a kidnapper. What happened to his victims could have happened to anyone. I thank God he has been caught. The problem with estates like the one in Magodo is that neighbours hardly talk to one another. If not for estate meetings, many people wouldn’t know themselves. Nawa! This is a man I used to admire when I see him riding on his power bikes on several occasions.”
Ironically, Evans’ house, which is located on Alhaji Basheer Shittu Avenue is just a stone throw away from a private nursery and primary school. As with most private schools in Lagos, Straight Gate Nursery and Primary School is also for children of the rich as the school fees are expensive. One of the security men at the gate said that although security has always been tight, they are now ‘extra careful.’ “Since this Evans’ matter, we have even doubled up security. The rule here is that no one apart from the parent is allowed to pick the kids. No relation is allowed to pick up the kids other than the parents.”
Evans’ victims were mostly youths between ages 22 and 40. Only a few of them were above 50. He had information on those who do both shady and legitimate businesses prior to kidnapping them. One neighbour, Mark, was concerned about the list of his victims, “Imagine in one case, the victim was a 22-year old millionaire. It shows that he had information on his victims and then designed a strategy on how to kidnapping them. I think they were people like him only that they were doing different businesses. What it means is that people like me are free from kidnappers because I’m a simple man.”
Mark advised that “We must endeavour
to know more about our neighbours. It is common now for criminals to rent apartments in highbrow areas in order to avoid suspicion. When a criminal builds a mansion in the midst of poor people, it would be easy to ask questions, but when he builds it in the midst of rich people, they would hardly be questioned. For instance, there are so many yahoo boys (internet fraudsters) living among the rich today. They just blend.”