A Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island today resumed watching the recorded video footage made to the police by Chidinma Ojukwu, the suspect in the alleged murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga.
Contrary to her account in one of the recorded videos earlier played at the last court sitting before Justice Yetunde Adesanya, Chidinma in the new video denied killing the deceased.
Chidinma had also in July 2021 said contrary to her initial statements that she had stabbed Ataga as a way of self-defense, she had nothing to do with his death.
In the new video, Chidinma distanced herself from her earlier narration where she detailed how she committed the offence.
She claimed in the new recording that she did not know who killed the deceased as she had left him alone to go out on the Tuesday he was murdered.
She also claimed that by the time she got back, she saw Ataga’s body on the floor, she panicked, picked her things and left because she was scared.
She said, “I don’t know who entered I just picked my things and left because I was scared.”
At the last adjourned date on October 11, 2022, when the first video recording was played, Ataga’s lifeless body was first beamed on the court screen and Chidinma who was later seen in the video narrated to police officers how she killed the deceased on her own.
In the video, she had said, “There was nobody that assisted me, I did it alone.”
Chidinma’s counsel, C.C. Ezebube had objected to the playing and the admissibility of the video. He told the court that his client was coerced to make the initial confessional video but the court overruled him and has now admitted both videos in evidence.
While being interrogated in the new video, Chidinma was asked why she initially denied knowing the deceased, she said she didn’t say so but also said 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.”
When a member of the team that interrogated her in the video asked why she said the blood stains on her clothes was her period, she kept saying that she cannot kill somebody.
“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.”
Asked why she did not call for help when she saw him in a pool of his blood, she responded that it was because she was scared.
She was also asked why she ordered for Loud smoke and Rophynol, the defendant answered that it was the deceased that ordered for it and that she doesn’t know where he ordered it from as she just went to pick it.
The defendant was also asked why she picked the deceased’s two Iphones and Mac Laptop, she said she just picked them because they were among her things and left because she was scared.
After watching the video, the court also listened to more testimony from the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele from the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department Panti Yaba.
Led in evidence by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel Yusuf Sule, the witness narrated how the hand written statement of the first defendant (Chidinma) was taken and how the second (Quadri) and third defendants (Egbuchu) were arrested.
Police Officer Speaks
Bamidele said that after the arrest of the first defendant, on June 23, 2021, her written statement was recorded on June 24.
He said, “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 letters.
“It was at that point that she said I should write for her and she confessed to killing the deceased.
“She mentioned how she killed Michael Usifo Ataga and went away with the knife, phones and Mac book laptop.
“We then 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 to our office and initially he insisted on knowing what happened so I hinted him then when he came to our office, we gave him the whole details.
“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 macbook 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”.
“In the course of investigation we studied her call logs very well we noticed that there was a frequent call log 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. At his arrest, he 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, and he narrated how he met Chidinma.
“He said he met Chidinma through a friend called Sam, who was her ex- boy friend. He also said that he is capable of getting international passport, drivers license, statement of banks etc.
“The second defendnat 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 supplied 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 dispatch rider got to Lekki and she went to collect it.”
As for the 3rd defendant, the witness said 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 case has been adjourned till October 20, for continuation of trial.