Nigeria: Usifo Ataga: Chidinma retracts his claim that he murdered him.

Chidinma Ojukwu, a University of Lagos student accused of murdering Super TV CEO Usifo Ataga, denied murdering the deceased in a confessional video shown before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square on Tuesday, October 18.

This was her assertion when the court resumed watching the recorded video footage of the prime suspect’s confessional statement.

Chidinma denied knowing who killed the dead in a video tape played in court. She went out on the appointed day, and when she returned, she noticed Ataga on the floor, so she hastily grabbed up her belongings and departed because she was tired.

“I don’t know who entered I just picked my things and left because I was scared.”she said

This contradicts her earlier confession, when the video of Ataga’s lifeless body was shown at the final hearings on October 11, 2022, in which she stated that she killed the deceased on her own.

“There was nobody that assisted me, I did it alone.”she said in the video

Chidinma was grilled in the video and was asked why she denied knowing the deceased, to which she replied that she didn’t deny knowing Ataga but that she didn’t kill him.

“I did not say that I didn’t know him, I said I did not kill him, I can not kill somebody.”she said

When a member of the interrogation team inquired why she said the blood spots on her clothes were from her menstruation, she kept insisting she couldn’t kill anyone.

“I don’t know who came in after I left the room, when I came back I saw him bleeding, I had to leave because I was scared, I did not kill him, I don’t know who killed him.”

In the video, the suspect is heard explaining that when she spotted him in the pool of his blood, she left him instead of asking for help because she was afraid.

When asked why she ordered Loud and Rophynol, the defendant stated that the deceased ordered them and she had no idea where he ordered them from.

Chidinma was also asked why she grabbed the deceased’s two iPhones and Mac Laptop, to which she replied that they were her possessions and that she picked them up and went because she was afraid.

While being led in evidence by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Yusuf Sule, the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele from the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department Panti Yaba, described how the first defendant’s handwritten statement was taken and how the second and third defendants were arrested shortly after the video stopped playing.

According to the investigating officer, after the first defendant was arrested on June 23, 2021, her written statement was recorded on June 24.

In his words

“She started writing by herself, but because her hand-writing wasn’t legible I told her that she should ensure that her writing is legible or write in capital letter.

It was at that point that she said I should write for her and she confessed to killing the deceased.

She also mentioned how she had killed Michael Usifo Ataga and went away with the knife, phones and Mac book laptop. We took the first defendant to the computer village with her laptop and we located the phone hub.

I and my OC went and we met one Yomi, we invited him but he insisted on not knowing what happened so I hinted him, when he came to our office, we gave him the whole details and he said it was few days ago that the first defendant came to sell the laptop to them, and it was one of his colleagues Ifeoluwa Oluwo that they did the transactions together.

That was how the Mac book was recovered and the first defendant confessed that she was the one who sold the laptop to them.

On that same June 24, I remember she mentioned one DG, that he assisted her in getting ID card, drivers license, Access Bank ATM, among others but that she doesn’t know his full name, but only speak with him on phone.

I now said ok, assist us in this investigation so that we can get this DG, she said she doesn’t know the house, this prompted us to bring the tracking team who traced her to her house.

In the course of investigation we studied her call log very well we noticed that there were frequent calls with a particular number between June 15, 17, 18 and 21, the tracker led to the arrest of the 2nd defendant.

The team traced the 2nd defendant to Surulere before he was arrested, the 2nd defendant threw away his phone through the window and also attempted to jump through the window but he was held by the waist.

Four other phones were recovered from him, two small size Itel phones and two Tecno phones.

Eventually, when he was brought to our office I called him DG, he said his name was not DG, then I confronted him with who is Chidinma, then he narrated how he met Chidinma.

He said he met Chidinma through a friend called Sam, who was an ex-boyfriend of the first defendant and that he is capable of getting international passport, drivers licence, statement of bank.

The second defendant said that he got Chidinma’s number from Sam and after conversations he visited her at choice places at Sabo Yaba.

Along the line he said there was a particular day during the week when Chidinma called him and requested that he gets her Loud, smoke and Rophynol, he collected the money and went to Shitta area of Surulere and got the Rophynol from the Mallam in that area.

He said he remembered sending it to the first defendant while she was at Lekki, through a dispatch rider, he told me that he supplies her two or three time in Lekki, with Loud, smoke and Rophynol.

He said on one of the occasions he called the first defendant when the dispatched rider got to Lekki and she went to collect it,” the witness said.

Bamidele who continued in his evidence, said that the 3rd defendant was arrested through the help of the foster father of Chidinma Onoh Ojukwu and their uncle Mr. Obi alongside their mother.

He said the 3rd defendant narrated that the iPhone was gifted to her by Chidinma and she had questioned the first defendant where she got the phone from and she said it was one of her boyfriends that gave her.

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 and murdered 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. The duo were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.

Justice Adesanya adjourned till October 20, 2022 for the continuation of trial.

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