Legal Nigeria

Usifo Ataga’s death: Court remands Chidinma as police arraign father, four others

By Jesutomi Akomolafe and Silver Nwokoro

A Yaba magistrates’ court in Lagos yesterday ordered the remand of Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect in the death of Super TV CEO, Usifo Ataga, for 30 days in prison.

Chief Magistrate Adeola Adedayo gave the order following a remand application by police prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor.

The application was in accordance with Section 264, sub sections 1 and 2 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

Recall that Chidinma, a 300-level student of the University of Lagos, was arrested on June 23 for the murder of Usifo and confessed to have stabbed him several times, stole from him and left him in an apartment where they lodged in Lekki.

Miss Ojukwu and a co-defendant in the case, Quadri Adedapo, would be in remand till September 5 for the review of remand and legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

Counsel for the first defendant, Babajide Martins, enjoined the prosecution to make necessary documents available to the defence team before trial commences.

He said: “I have just been privileged to get a copy of the remand application. I have not been able to go through it. My learned friend’s application is inevitable. I would have been happier if I was obliged with the application earlier. The application will not be opposed, in principle.”

In her ruling, the magistrate said: “In the absence of anything to the contrary, the two defendants are remanded for 30 days in the first instance.”

MEANWHILE, the State Criminal Investigative and Intelligence Department (SCIID) Panti yesterday brought criminal charges against Chidinma’s father, Mr. Onoh Ojukwu and four others.

They were arraigned before a Yaba Chief Magistrates court, for alleged obstruction of justice and failing to report a crime to the law enforcement agencies.

Ojukwu, 57, and Babalola Disu, 42, were charged with obstructing the police from performing their duties and failing to report a crime to the police.

The other three defendants, Jessica Egbochi, 28; Abayomi Olutayo, 23; and Ifeoluwa Olowu, 23, were accused of dishonestly receiving stolen items.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecution counsel, Cyril Ejiofor, alleged the defendants committed the offences on June 18 and 23, at Computer Village, Ikeja, and Alagomeji, Yaba.

He alleged that Ojukwu prevented the police from arresting his daughter, Chidinma.

The counsel said the second defendant, Disu, failed to report Ataga’s death to the police.

According to Ejiofor, the other three defendants dishonestly received a MacBook valued at N2.5 million and an IPhone 7 worth N150, 000 belonging to the deceased.

The court heard that the offences contravened Sections 97, 117, 328 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Chief Magistrate Adedayo admitted each defendant to bail to the tune of N1 million with two sureties each in the like sum, which must make a deposit of N20, 000 into the coffers of the chief registrar.

She adjourned till September 6 for mention.

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