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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Usifo Ataga’s Murder: Court Plays Video, Chidinma Narrates How Crime Was Committed

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The Lagos State Government, through its Ministry of Justice, has played in court the video showing the lifeless body of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Michael Usifo Ataga, who was allegedly killed by an undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu.

The video was played while listening to the testimony of the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele from the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID) Panti, Yaba.

In the video, which was played before trial judge, Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Ataga was seen lying on the ground face up with his hands spread open.

He was wearing a white singlet and a boxers stained with blood, his head was close to the wall of the short let service apartment and blood was on the floor by his right hand side.

There was also blood on the floor leading to his body which showed that he may have been dragged, as well as blood stains on the pillow and duvet cover.

In the same Compact Disc from which the video was played, the court also watched another video recording of Chidinma Ojukwu’s statement where she narrated how she murdered Ataga.

In the video, the defendant was heard narrating how she met Ataga through a friend. She said after they started speaking to each other, he called her on June 13, 2021, and asked her to get a place for them to stay.

She said this was how she came to procure the short let service apartment were the deceased died.

She said “After I got the place on Sunday we were smoking loud, drinking, watching movies then I went to get food, the drug we were taking got finished and I ordered another one and went down stairs to get it from the delivery guy in the morning, that was on June 14, 2021.

“Then on Tuesday, we drank, smoke loud and I added Rophynol to his drink we had sex and I was on the bed and he was on the chair, then later he started disturbing me for more sex, I was tired and after struggling with him, he had his way and still wanted more.

“He wanted it, he was no longer himself, and I thought he was no more interested in sex, only for him to return to the bed to ask for more sex. I pushed him away, which resulted in him hitting his head against a stool that had a glass, he had a cut on his leg and he became weak.

“I got a knife and stabbed him in the neck, ribs and stomach, so that he won’t be able to harm me, I tied his hands with handkerchief.

“His blood was out and I was scared, I just packed everything, my clothes was also stained with blood, I just packed my things and just left.

“I took the knife and handkerchief and when I got home, I threw the knife and handkerchief away.

”Michael was a friend, that we just talk, I don’t know him that deep and we don’t talk regularly.”

When she was asked in the video if she was assisted in killing the deceased as she couldn’t have done it alone because of his physique, she said “There was nobody that assisted me, I did it alone.

Asked why she didn’t call for help, she said ” Obviously I was scared that was why I left.

Asked what was the motive behind her killing Ataga, she said “There was no motive behind it.”

When asked her why she was using a foreign number and the motive behind her hiding  her number, she responded by saying that she already had a foreign number registered on social media which she uses to chat with people.

Asked why the owner of the service apartment didn’t know her identity, she said “She didn’t ask for my identification, if she had said that the place was not available I would have have left for another place.”

Chidinma also admitted that she used the name Mary Johnson to open a bank account, and procured an ID card in the name from a contact she found while surfing the internet.

She also admitted that she opened a dollar account so that she could deposit dollars into it.

The police witness also testified about some of the items he recovered from the Chidinma’s house after the incident.

He told Justice Adesanya that he recovered a small pink purse which contained two syringes, eight pieces of Rophynol tablets, two sanitary pads, a small perfume, jewelry, an Iphone belonging to the first defendant, a note book, a diary and an HP laptop.

Other items, were the defendant’s ID card with her name Ojukwu Chidinma Adora, Ataga’s driving licence, Ojukwu’s UBA ATM card, Super net ID card with Ataga’s name, and three other cards that had the deceased’s name tagged product service then six blank complimentary cards.

After identifying the items, the Asst. Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, asked the court to admit the items in evidence. But Chidinma’s lawyer, C.C. Ezebube objected to the admisibility of the items. He pointed out that the custody of the items were not specified before the court, from the moment of recovery to tendering it before the court.

He said “Some of the items could have been picked from anywhere, there is no originality as this items can be reproduced from anywhere.

“Then the issue of relevance of some of these items tendered before the court were not stated”. He cited the sanitary pad and earrings, as some of the irrelevant items.

The second defendant’s counsel Babatunde Busari, and the 3rd defendant’s counsel F.O. Ilesanmi did did not object to the tendering of the items.

In a short ruling, Justice Adesanya, dismissed the objection and admitted the items in evidence.

The case was adjourned till October 12, for continuation of trial.

The three defendants were arraigned on October, 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred  against them by Lagos State Government.

Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.

The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count – stealing of iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired to murder Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife on the neck and chest.

The alleged murder took place at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

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