A murder suspect, Chidinma Ojukwu, on Thursday narrated that she was forced by the police to sign a statement that she killed Usifo Ataga, the CEO of Super Tv.

Miss Ojukwu, an undergraduate of the University of Lagos, was arraigned alongside two others, Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu, on 12 October 2021, on a nine-count charge over the alleged murder of Mr Ataga.

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

The alleged murder incident took place at a short-let apartment at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

The third defendant, Ms Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of receiving a stolen iPhone 7 belonging to the deceased.

Confessional statement

In the ongoing trial within trial at a high court at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) area of Lagos, Ms Ojukwu told the court that when she was questioned by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Olusegun Bamidele, she never admitted to killing Mr Ataga.

The suspect said that after her initial confession, she was taken to the interrogation room of the State Criminal Investigation Department in Yaba and given a plain statement paper to narrate what transpired at the short-let apartment.

Chidinma and CEO Of Super Tv

“When I started writing, he took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair while I was writing. I wrote what I said at the DSP’s office,” she said.

“In the middle of my writing, Mr Bamidele took the statement and he read through it. And he said this is not what happened and I told them that this is what happened.”

Miss Ojukwu told the court that before she wrote the statement, she had requested to call her father to ask if the family’s lawyer was informed about the situation. But the police refused to grant her request.

According to her, when she insisted that she wasn’t involved in the murder of Mr Ataga, one of the officers in the interogation room hit her from the back.

She added that it was either Mr Jenyo or Chris that hit her from the back.

Miss Ojukwu further explained that she was given another blank sheet to write the “truth,” after her first statement was torn.

“And he (Mr Bamidele) said if I do not comply, my family, my dad, sisters and relatives that were arrested will be charged with this murder case,” she told the court.

“Then he brought out his phone, he played the video of the apartment and he showed me pictures of Mr Ataga’s body.

“He said, ‘Now you’re going to write…,’ I started writing. At the introduction of the statement, he asked why I was slow then I received another slap from the back.

“And I told him that I wasn’t feeling well and that I needed to rest. And he said that there is no time for that. Then he took the statement from me and he started writing and then Mr Chris handcuffed my both hands to the chair.”

“At the beginning of his writing, he was asking questions, but then he stopped asking questions and continued writing.”

She said that after Mr Bamidele finished writing the statement, he asked her to read and “rehearse” the statement because she will be taken to the office of the commissioner of police the next day.

She said the following day Mr Chris asked her to sign the statement adding that “he told me nobody is coming for me and that he will provide me with a good lawyer.”

She told the court that when they got to Ikeja, Mr Bamidele narrated what he had written in the statement and asked her to narrate it.

“Then after the narration, he said that is what I will say to the commissioner of police and he took me to the doorstep of the commissioner of police,” she said.

“The commissioner of police asked me what happened, I said the same thing that Mr Bamidele wrote in the statement.”

She also said that after meeting with the commissioner, she was taken downstairs where she met a lot of journalists with cameras.

She said the police officer called Oseni brought her out of the cell and took her to the office of Funke Madeyinlo and Bola.

“Officer Jenyo, walked in as officer Funke brought out a blank statement sheet and told me I was brought in to write a statement,” she said.

“I said I already wrote a statement and I am tired, I have not eaten. She said when I am done I will go and eat.

“Officer Jenyo came to stand beside me, hit my head on the table. He said, ‘we are not here to play” and then I picked up a pen and officer Funke said I should start writing. I wrote the date and my name, then she brought a paper that had writing on it and was dictating. She said, ‘write what I say’, I wrote all that she had said.

“At the end of the statement, she turned the (statement sheet) back and I was told to sign. Mr Oseni came after officer Jenyo had walked out and returned me back to the cell. I signed the second statement on the same 24th.”

When she was cross-examined by the state lawyer, Adenike Oluwafemi, she explained that the first statement was dictated while the second one was written.

She also stated that she did not report the assault by officer Jenyo to anyone including the Commissioner of Police.

The judge, Yetunde Adesanya, gave 14 days each to the defence and prosecution lawyers to file their written addresses.

She adjourned the case till 11 January next year for adoption of the written addresses.



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