A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Monday remanded a 21-year-old student, Chidinma Ojukwu, for 30 days at a correctional centre for allegedly killing the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Mr Usifo Ataga.
KanyiDaily had reported how Ataga was found dead with multiple stabs on June 16 at an apartment on Adebowale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase I where he had checked in with his lover, Chidinma.
Chidinma was consequently arrested on June 23 in her father’s house in Yaba and paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja, where she confessed that she and Ataga were “having fun” when an argument broke out and she stabbed him twice.
On June 29, the 21-year-old UNILAG student attributed her action to the influence of hard drugs and smoking, and pleaded for forgiveness saying she was not ready to die.
Things took a dramatic turn on July 13, when Chidinma recanted her previous confession, claiming she walked into the room from an errand only to find Ataga stabbed, blood everywhere and the apartment in shambles.
In an interview she granted the police media team which was aired by Crime Fighter TV, a police sponsored programme, Ojukwu claimed her earlier admission of stabbing Ataga to death was made under pressure and fear that people would not believe her.
She said someone probably entered the apartment when she left to get the things they needed, killed Ataga, scattered the place and left before her arrival.
Chidinma Ojukwu Remanded Over Alleged Murder
During the court hearing on Monday, August 9, Ojukwu and her co-defendant, Adedapo Quadri (40) were remanded in prison for 30 days following an application of the police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Adeola Adedayo, gave the order after the prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, appealed to the court to remand them to enable the police to complete investigation into the case.
Adedayo also ordered that the case file be forwarded to the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice. She, thereafter, adjourned the case till September 5 for mention.
Ejiofor told the court that the defendants allegedly committed the offences on June 16, at Number 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
He alleged that Ojukwu and Quadri conspired to kill Ataga and stole his laptop, phones and cash valued at N3.8 million.
On arraignment on Monday, the police had brought Ojukwu, Quadri and five other defendants to court. The other five defendants are Onoh Ojukwu (57), Obafemi Disu (42), Chioma Egbuchi (28), Olutayo Abayomi (23) and Ifeoluwa Olowu (24).
But the magistrate ruled that the prosecution should separate the charge of Ojukwu and Quadri from the other five defendants before arraignment.
The magistrate said Ojukwu and Quadri should be arraigned for conspiracy, murder and stealing, while the others should be rearraigned for allegedly receiving stolen property, resisting public officers and attempt to pervert justice.
The prosecution separated the charges and appealed to the court that the other five defendants would be docked before the end of Monday’s sitting.
Later, Mr Onoh Ojukwu and the other four were arraigned for alleged obstruction of justice and failing to report a crime to law enforcement agencies. Onoh Ojukwu is the father of Chidinma.
Ojukwu and Disu are to face trial on charges of obstructing the police from performing their duties and failing to report a crime to the police, while the three other defendants, Egbochi, Abayomi and Olowu are to face trial for dishonestly receiving stolen items. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecutor from the State Criminal Investigative and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on June 18 and 23, at Computer Village, Ikeja, and Alagomeji, Yaba.
He alleged that Ojukwu had refused the police from arresting his daughter, Chidinma, when the law caught up with her. Ejiofor added that the second defendant, Disu, had also failed to report the death of Ataga to the police.