Following the judgment of the Ikeja Special Offences Court which sentenced, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans to 21 years imprisonment, Nigerians including Senior Advocates of Nigeria had been reacting to the verdict preferred against the controversial kidnapper and his accomplice.
Speaking with our correspondent, Prof Sam Erugo (SAN), said the court had the discretion on what sentence to pass, adding that in the case of Evans who had multiple charges pending before different courts, for as long they pass the judgments, they would run concurrently.
Erugo added, “I think 21 years is virtually life imprisonment; people arguing that the sentence should be stiffer, even a life sentence doesn’t mean that he will be there all his life. After a certain time, they may exercise some leniency and let the person go.
“21 years is still a very stiff penalty so even after spending the 21 years in prison, the other conviction of life sentence will still hold him there until if we have a lenient governor, maybe in one of the jail releases, they can let him go. 21 years is not a small sentence, it depends on what was before the court.”
Also reacting, Olu Daramola (SAN), however, said the sentence made no difference because Evans was already serving a life sentence.
“If somebody is sentenced to death and in other counts, he is exonerated that he did nothing, the fact still remains that he is facing the hangman.
“He already had the stiffer punishment you can get after death in the earlier judgment; he may still be sentenced to death because even if he is sentenced to life imprisonment in all the cases, he can only serve one, because he just has one life,” he said.
Describing the judgment as a positive development, a lawyer, Isiaku Olagunju (SAN) said the judgment would serve as a deterrent to other criminals.
“I am glad that justice has been made. However, there is no way I can criticize the judgment because I was not involved, and I have not read the judgment,” Olagunju added.
In his reaction, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), however, said Evans still had; the right to appeal the judgment at a higher court.
He said, “More often, most people have been; tried on the pages of newspapers and social media; before the actual trial, thus I didn’t know the facts, but I am sure the judge would have; considered all the available facts.
“In this case, he still has the right of appeal at the Court of Appeal, to the Supreme Court. Sentencing is a question of law based on the available facts. If you have 21 years in jail, I think that is okay because sometimes criminals do repent. So, if you sentenced someone to life imprisonment, how will the society get the benefits of their repentance?”