Litigants, lawyers stunned as Chidinma narrates how she drugged, killed Ataga
Court adjourned to October 19 for the continuation of trial
Litigants and lawyers at the Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square were stunned on Tuesday, as they watched a video recording of the lifeless body of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, allegedly murdered on June 15, 2021.
MEANWHILE, the case expected to continue yesterday was adjourned to October 19, owing to administrative issues.
In the video, the chief suspect, Chidinma Ojukwu, allegedly an undergraduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), narrated how she drugged and killed the deceased.
Chidinma and one Adedapo Quadri are standing trial for Ataga’s murder, alongside, her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, accused of stealing Ataga’s iPhone 7.
Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife in the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at 19, Adewale Oshin St., Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The three defendants were arraigned on October 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge brought against them by the Lagos State government.
At the resumption of the case on Tuesday, the trial judge, Yetunde Adesanya and others in the full court paid rapt attention when the video recording of the lifeless body of Ataga was played in the open court.
Ataga’s body was seen in the video lying on the ground facing up, with his hands spread.
He was wearing a white singlet and a boxer stained with blood. His head was close to a wall at the short-service apartment where he was allegedly murdered.
There was a blood stain on the pillow and duvet on the bed in the room as well as the floor.
In the same Compact Disc, a video showing Ojukwu narrating how she murdered Ataga was played.
In the video, Ojukwu narrated that she met Ataga through a friend.
She said that, on June 13, 2021, the deceased called her and asked her to get a place for them to stay, and she got the short-let service apartment where the deceased died.
She said: “After I got the place on Sunday, we were smoking loud (illicit drug), drinking and watching movies.
“Then, I went to get food, the drug we were taking got finished and I ordered another one and went downstairs to get it from the delivery guy in the morning.”
The first defendant said that the above-mentioned incident occurred on June 14, 2021.
“Then, on Tuesday, we drank, and smoked Loud and I added Rophynol to his drink. We had sex, and I was on the bed and he was on a chair. Later, he started disturbing me for more sex. I was tired, and after struggling with him, he had his way and still wanted more.”
“He was no longer himself, and I thought he was no more interested in sex, only for him to return to the bed to ask for more. I pushed him away which resulted in him hitting his head against a stool that had a glass, he had a cut on his leg and he became weak.”
Ojukwu said that she then took a knife and stabbed Ataga on the neck, ribs and stomach, so he would not be able to harm her.
“ I tied his hands with a handkerchief. His blood was out and I was scared.
“ I just packed everything, my clothes were also stained with blood, I just packed my things and left.
“I took the knife and handkerchief, and when I got home, I threw the knife and handkerchief away.
” Michael was a friend. I didn’t know him that deeply, and we didn’t talk regularly,” she said in the video clip.
When she was asked in the video if she was assisted in killing the deceased, Ojukwu said, “Nobody assisted me, I did it alone.”
When asked why she didn’t call for help, she said, ” Obviously I was scared, that was why I left.”
She said that there was no motive behind her killing Ataga.
In the video, the ninth prosecution witness in the murder trial, Deputy Superintendent of Police (SP) Olusegun Bamidele from the Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigating and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti Yaba, was seen interrogating Ojukwu at Panti.
He also asked her why she was using a foreign phone number and the motive behind her hiding her phone number.
Ojukwu said that she already had a foreign number registered on social media which she used to chat with people.
Asked why the owner of the service apartment didn’t know her identity, she said, “She didn’t ask for my identification. If she had said that the place was not available I would have left for another place.”
Ojukwu responded to a question in the video about why she used Mary Johnson to open a bank account.
She said that she was attempting to open an account number which got blocked.
On an Identification card she procured, Ojukwu said, “It was someone that did it and you can’t see his face.
“I don’t know the contact of the person. I was just going through the internet and I saw a contact to call.”
She also said in the video that she opened a domiciliary account for depositing dollars.
At this point, prosecution counsel, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, reminded the witness of his evidence on May 10, when he said that he recovered some items from the defendant’s house.
Bamidele responded by listing the things he allegedly recovered from Ojukwu’s house.
He told the court that he recovered a small pink purse containing two syringes, eight pieces of Rophynol tablets, two sanitary pads, a small perfume, jewellery, an iPhone belonging to the first defendant, a notebook, a diary and an HP laptop.
The witness listed the other items to include: an identity card with the name: Ojukwu Chidinma Adora; Ataga’s driver’s licence, Ojukwu’s United Bank for Africa automated teller machine card and Super net identity card in Ataga’s name.
Other items are three other cards that had the deceased’s name and six blank complimentary cards. After identifying the items, Oluwafemi prayed to the court to admit them in evidence.
However, Ojukwu’s counsel, Mr C.C. Ezebube, objected to the admissibility of the items on the ground that the custody of the items was not specified before the court – from the moment of recovery to that of tendering them before the court.
“Some of the items could have been picked from anywhere, there is no originality as these items can be reproduced from anywhere,” he said.
But Quadri’s counsel, Mr Babatunde Busari and Egbuchu’s counsel, F.O. Ilesunmi, did not object to the tendering of the items in evidence.
In a ruling, the judge dismissed the objection and admitted the items in evidence.
Earlier, the witness showed the court some pictures of the apartment where Ataga was allegedly murdered.