Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, has urged the Nigeria Police to stop the alleged media trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, prime suspect in the murder of Usifo Ataga, Super TV Chief Executive Officer.
Akande-Sadipe, representing APC-Oluyole, made the plea in a statement by her Media Aide, Olamilekan Olusada, on Thursday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late Ataga was allegedly stabbed to death by Ojukwu, a 300 level student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), on June 15 at Lekki area of Lagos State.
Akande-Sadipe said she had raised the concern over the unending parade and alleged media trial of the suspect by the Nigeria Police in a motion of urgent public importance on Tuesday during the plenary.
“This motion is not about Chidinma, her ethnicity, gender or her background; it is about doing things right and following due process of the law.
“It is about the broader issues of police violation of human rights.
“If Ojukwu is continued to be paraded for a social media trial, it could affect the determination and outcome of the case,” Akande-Sadipe said.
She said that the action would amount to breach of her fundamental right to fair hearing, especially where she was labelled or treated as one guilty of a crime.
“Cognisant that Section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that every person charged with a criminal offence remain innocent until proven guilty.
“Ms Ojukwu has not been proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction; she shouldn’t be labelled a criminal or paraded for interviews on a case currently under investigation.
“Rather, the police are to conduct a proper investigation and allow the court to consider the matter and make an informed judgment,” the lawmaker said in the statement.
She said that police should conclude their investigation on the matter and charge her to court for trial instead of subjecting her to media trial.
The parliamentarian called on IGP Usman Baba to ensure that there was no repeat of human rights violation and media access to arrested persons in the future to avoid compromising the case.
Akande-Sadipe, also urged the IGP to also ensure that the suspect, Ojukwu, does not die in custody or commit suicide while awaiting trial.
NAN recalls that the suspect, Ojukwu was first paraded by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, on June 24 at the police command in connection with Ataga’s murder.
However, the suspect has yet to be charged to court over the matter.