By Unini Chioma
The Lagos State Government has arraigned Chidinma Ojukwu and two others over the alleged murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga.
Chidinma – a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos – and one Quadri Adedapo were arraigned before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island.
They were docked on a nine-count charge alongside Ojukwu’s sister, Egbuchu Chioma from whom the late Ataga’s iPhone 7, was said to have been recovered.
The charge dated August 31, was filed by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mrs. Olayinka Adeyemi.
Ojukwu, 21, and Adedapo – first and second defendants – were named in counts one to seven. Ojukwu was the sole defendant on count eight, while Chioma was named in count nine.
In count one, Chidinma and Adedapo were charged with conspiring to murder Ataga contrary to Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos 2015.
In count two, Chidinma and Adedapo were charged with Ataga’s murder, an offence said to have been committed by stabbing him several times on the neck and chest with a knife.
In counts 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7, Chidinma and Adedapo were charged with conspiracy to commit forgery, forgery and making documents without authority.
They were specifically alleged to have procured false bank account statements of Ataga.
They also allegedly forged an international passport and a driver’s license In Chidinma’s name.
In count eight, Chidinma was charged alone with stealing two iPhones – an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 11 – one Apple MacBook Laptop and ATM cards belonging to the late Usifo Ataga from which the sum of N380,000 was subsequently withdrawn.
In count nine, Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu was charged with being in possession of the stolen property, the iPhone 7 belonging to the late Usifo Ataga.
Ojukwu, 21, was alleged to have murdered Ataga, in a Service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravened Sections 411, 233, 365 (2)b, 280, 329, of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
Ojukwu, Adedapo and Chioma pleaded not guilty.
There was a mild drama when the court registrar read count one of ‘conspiracy to murder’ to the defendants.
After Ojukwu pleaded not guilty, the registrar turned to Adedapo.
Registrar: “Are you guilty or not guilty?”
Realising his error, the second defendant subsequently changed his plea to “Not guilty.”
Mr O. Egwu appeared for Ojukwu, Mr Babatunde Busari, announced appearance for Adedapo, while Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Dr Babajide Martins appeared for Chioma.
Justice Adesanya remanded Ojukwu and Quadri in prison custody.
Following an unopposed application by Martins, the judge allowed Chioma to continue on the bail granted her at the Magistrate Court.
She adjourned till November, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17, 25, 29 and 30 for trial.
Ojukwu, 21, is alleged to have murdered Ataga, in a Service apartment in Lekki area of Lagos State.
According to the charge, Usifo was found dead with multiple stab wounds on June 16 at a short-let apartment on Adebowale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase I where he had checked in with his lover, Ojukwu.
Miss Ojukwu was consequently arrested on June 23 in her father’s house in Yaba and paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja.
The 50-year-old deceased was buried on July 30 in a low-key ceremony attended by his family members, including his wife, and friends.