February 17, 2022

Chidinma Ojukwu: How police discovered Ataga’s body in pool of blood — Witness

Chidinma: I got fake WhatsApp messages from Usifo Ataga’s phone, co-founder of Super Network tells court

By Onozure Dania

Mr Ibrahim Isiaka, the investigative Police officer in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged murder suspect of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Usifo Ataga, Thursday narrated to a Lagos High Court, sitting at Tafa Balewa Square,TBS, how police discovered the dead body in his pool of blood and evacuated it.

Isiaka, said that when the police got the information of the incident at the Maroko Police Station at Lekki, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO)and the Divisional Crime Officer,(DCO), rushed down to the scene of crime and the DPO, immediately called emergency at Yaba General hospital, who came and evacuated the corpse.

At the resumed hearing of the matter Thursday, the witness who was led in evidence in chief, by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DDPP), Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi, said that on June 16, 2021, he was on night duty when a case of murder was reported, at the Maroko Police Station.

Isiaka, the sixth prosecution witness, who gave evidence before Justice Yetunde Adesanya, said that, on June 16, 2021, at about 11:30pm, one Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, (the owner of the service apartment where Ataga was murdered), came to make a report of murder case.

He said that Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, told the police that her security guard, one Abu had informed her that some people lodged at her facility, ( the short service apartment), at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, and when the cleaner went to clean the apartment they discovered a dead body.

The witness also told the court that in Mogbo’s report she stated that the security guard and the cleaner, after calling the occupants of the apartment and there was no response, forced the door open and discovered that a man was lying down in his pool of blood.

Isiaka who said he has been in the Police Force, for 28 years, said that based on the nature of the case, on June 17, 2021, the DPO, said the case should be immediately transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti.

According to the witness, after the case file was transferred to Panti, a team of detectives from the Homicide section of Panti, asked him to follow them to the scene of crime, adding that when they got there, the apartment door was opened and they discovered that things were scattered in the apartment.

He said “The team headed by chief superintendent of police, from Panti, found some items from the traveling bag of the deceased at the apartment and picked them, for investigation.

“I went back to Panti and from Panti, we went back to Yaba general hospital, for the identification of the corpse, when I got back to Panti, I made a statement and handed over. After I made the statement and handed over the case file to Panti, they continued from there.”

READ ALSO: Chidinma: I got fake WhatsApp messages from Usifo Ataga’s phone, co-founder of Super Network tells court

He testified that when he visited the morgue, the corpse was brought out in a stretcher.

” I discovered that there was blood on his back, the deceased was lying down facing up, that was when he was identified as one Michael Ataga,” he said.

The Prosecuting counsel, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi, however, sought to tender the witness’ statement as evidence but the second defendant counsel, Mr Babatunde Busari, objected.

Busari, said that the statement was an extrajudicial statement (a statement made outside the court), therefore not admissible.

He cited some Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions to back his objection.

However, the other defendant’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu for Chidinma and Mr O. A. Ogunsanya for Quadri, did not object to the tendering of the statement.

Justice Yetunde Adesanya, in a short ruling, said the objection failed and overruled it.

After the ruling, counsel for Chidinma, cross-examined the witness.

The witness explained that the case was assigned to him by the Charge room officer, adding that he carried out his investigations subject to the instructions given to him by the DPO and DCO.

After the cross-examination, Justice Adesanya, adjourned the case until February 21, for continuation of trial.

Chidinma Ojukwua a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, and two others are standing trial over Ataga’s murder.

The three defendants were arraigned on October 12 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 of stealing the iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

The first and second defendants were alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him severally with a knife in the neck and chest.

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

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