The trial of two suspects allegedly involved in the death of Usifo Ataga resumed Tuesday in Lagos.
Chidinma Ojukwu and Adedapo Quadri were the two suspects arraigned in the Lagos high court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Tuesday
Both were arraigned on eight counts bordering on the offences of murder, forgery, and stealing.
However, drama occurred when Adedapo Quadri pleaded guilty to the first count charge and was quickly corrected by two counsel to plead not guilty to the charge.
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution DPP, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, told the count that the defendants conspired amongst themselves and allegedly murdered the deceased on June 15, 2021.
She said that the incident took place at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The DPP said that Ojukwu and the second defendant, allegedly killed the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, by stabbing him severally with a knife on his neck and chest.
Adeyemi said that the duo also allegedly conspired to commit forgery, by procuring and making Access and UBA Bank, account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.
The duo were also alleged to have forged First United Bank account statement of one Mary, from June 1, 2021.
The Prosecutor further accused Ojukwu and Quadri, of allegedly forging an international passport and a driver’s license In Chidinma’s name.
In count eight, Chidinma was accused of stealing two iPhones, an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 11, one Apple MacBook Laptop and ATM cards of Access and GT Banks belonging to the late Usifo Ataga from which the sum of N380,000 was subsequently withdrawn.
The Prosecution also said that on June 22, 2021, Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu was found in possession of a stolen iPhone 7, property, of the late Usifo Ataga.
According to the prosecution the offences committed is punishable under Sections 411, 233, 365 (2) b, 280, 329, of the criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.
Consequently, Justice Adesanya, remanded the first and second defendants in prison custody and allowed the third defendant to continue on the bail granted her at the Magistrate court.
The case was adjourned till November, 9 and 11, for trial.
Chidinma is a student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
When NewsWireNGR visited the University campus to seek the view of students about the ugly incident.
“Chidinma is a cold-hearted killer,” begins Folashade, a 400 level Sociology student.
“I mean, there is no excuse on earth that can make up for this kind of crime. I mean, she claims the guy tried to rape her which does not make any sense at all. Was the whole purpose of her being in the service apartment, to begin with, not to have sex?”
Folashade continues, “We’ve heard of crimes like this before, so this is not the first time. This is a cold-calculated murder by a psychopath who showed no remorse.
“Her story is just an excuse to get her off the hook, but my hope is that the family of this man receives justice for this wickedness.”
When NewsWireNGR asked Folashade why she felt that Chidinma’s story was a lie, she retorts, “this story does not hold water at all. It is a complete lie to and through, and anyone who is smart should read between the lines.
“There are so many loose ends. Ok, she claims he (Ataga) tried to rape her. But she also admitted she had already had sex with him prior to the same night, so how then can a mutually consented arrangement result in rape?
“Secondly, why did she go ahead to withdraw over N300,000 of his money after killing him? You killed somebody husband and father and still went ahead to withdraw his money.
“Who can you explain this to and will believe that you are innocent? The audacity with this girl is something I cannot understand,” Folashade concludes in apparent disgust.
Chuks (not real name) is a 500 level student of Systems Engineering. He agreed to speak with us on the condition that we kept him anonymous.
He began by stating that his opinion was more of a hypothesis than a conviction.
“Being a country like Nigeria, there is nothing one cannot expect anymore,” Chuks begins.
“I have this feeling that we are approaching a barbarian dispensation where anybody does anything he wants and can get away with it even with a flimsy backing.
“In a country where even the government can tell you that snake swallowed a huge sum of money, and that matter was neatly swept under the carpet, then we can expect just about anything.
“Now, this girl claims she acted in self-defence because this man attempted to rape. Apparently, this would not be the first time the two would be meeting for any kind of sexual activity.
“According to her, they met some four months before the murder, so they should be well acclimatized with each other.
“What I am trying to understand is what would make a man who has known you for this length of time want to rape you?
“Now that’s one. Secondly, why were there rope marks on his wrists? This indicates that this man was bound and tortured, not to add the fact that he was stabbed multiple times…..all of this done by one lady, how?”
Chuks adds, “Another puzzle to be figured out here is, how is it that this man who had properties in many parts in Lagos decide to use a service apartment?
“Lastly, the fact that she went ahead to withdraw money from the late Usifo’s bank account shows that this wasn’t by accident but a premeditated murder.
“I feel this girl was simply an alibi for enemies or business rivals of the deceased who wanted him dead.
“Or another theory is that he was being tortured for some information regarding funds I am assuming, and when he didn’t divulge, they decided to kill him.
“Either way, I think Chidinma was just the scapegoat for the main characters involved.
“To prove my point, just watch how this story will silently blow off after a few more weeks. With tight connections, this girl may even be discharged by the police and that will be the end of this case.”