Ataga’s alleged murder: Chidinma left night before corpse was found – witness

Chidinma Ojukwu, the first defendant in the case of murder of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, left the apartment, where the alleged murder occurred, a night before Ataga’s  body was found.


A security guard at the apartment said this on Wednesday while testifying before a Lagos high court as the second prosecution witness in the murder trial.


The security guard, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, was being cross-examined before the court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square.


Mohammed began his testimony on Tuesday.


He was cross-examined on Wednesday by defence counsel.


Ojukwu, an undergraduate, is facing trial along with her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.


While Ojukwu and Quadri are charged with conspiracy and murder of Ataga, Egbuchu is charged with theft of Ataga’s iPhone.


During his cross-examination by Ojukwu’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu, the security guard said that Ojukwu left the apartment on the night of June 15 and did not return to the premises even after Ataga’s body was found.


He testified that when Ojukwu was leaving, he was at his duty post and she waived at him and entered a vehicle.


The witness denied that he told the police that he suspected one Mr Babalola Disu, who also logged at the apartment at the time the alleged murder happened.


Mohammed also told the court that he did not get Ataga’s full view when he came into the premises because he (Ataga) was inside a vehicle.


He also said that the deceased did not come out of his apartment after he entered.


The witness said it was Ojukwu who used to come out or call him on phone when she needed any help.


Quadri’s counsel, Mr Babatunde Busari, also cross-examined the witness.


Busari asked him to confirm if a dispatch rider actually came to the apartment and how many times the dispatch rider came.


The witness testified that a dispatch rider came once to the apartment, adding that the dispatch rider gave Ojukwu a small parcel which he did not know the content.


The witness was, however, re-examined by prosecution counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, during which he told the court that Ojukwu was the person who came and logged at the apartment.


Mohammed said he was able to identify her at a police station during an investigation “because she wears her face mask without covering her nose.


“I was also able to identify her when she removed her face mask.


“The police also asked her (defendant) if she knows me and my name, the defendant answered, `Yes’, and mentioned my name, Abu.


The witness had on Tuesday narrated to the court how Ojukwu and Ataga allegedly logged at the apartment where he worked as security man.


He said that they lodged on June 13 and Ojukwu left the premises on the night of June 15 and did not return.


He told the court that he found Ataga’s corpse in the morning of June 16.


Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until Nov. 25 for continuation of trial.


The three defendants were arraigned on Oct. 12 on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.


Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.


The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of stealing Ataga’s iPhone 7.


Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him severally with a knife on the neck and chest.


The alleged murder took place at No. 19, Adewale Oshin St., Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State.


The duo was also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased. (NAN)

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