It was the turn of Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect standing trial for the alleged killing of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga to testify before a Lagos State High Court on Thursday.
This is during the trial within trial where she denied the confessional statement attributed to her.
She told the trial judge Justice Yetunde Adesanya sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square, that the two statements she wrote were torn and was forced to sign the one that ASP Olusegun Bamidele wrote and the one that was dictated to her by Olufunke Madeyinlo.
She alleged that the officer asked her to rehearse the statement he had written and narrate it to the Commissioner of Police, CP.
She told the court that she was taken to the CP’s office at Ikeja, her hands were handcuffed on June 23, to the chair she sat until the next morning on June 24, when she was brought out of the interrogation room and taken to Ikeja.
According to her, on June 23, 2021, she was in her room at their house at No 47 Akinwunmi Street Alagomeji Yaba, when her 10 year old little sister informed her that there were men in the sitting room asking after her.
The witness said that she came out of the room into the sitting room and then greeted them, they then asked if she was Chidinma and she answered yes.
According to her, they asked me where is Mr. Ataga’s phone and his Range Rover vehicle, I said I don’t know.
She also narrated the encounter between the Policemen that came to her house and her father before her arrest.
At this point, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Adenike Oluwafemi, objected and said she was giving evidence of the case instead of evidence on how her statement was taken.
After the objection, Chidinma stated that she was handcuffed and taken away from their sitting room into the police vehicle.
She then gave an alleged graphic account of what happened between her and the interrogators till the point she was paraded.
In all, she denied all that were atributed to her, claiming she made the statement under duress.
After Chidinma finished testifying in her trial within trial, Justice Adesanya gave the prosecution and the defence 14 days each to file their written addresses in the trial within trial and adjourned the case to January, 11, 2023, for the adoption of final written addresses, in the trial within trial.
Recall that three defendants were arraigned on October, 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred 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 – stealing of iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife on the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The duo were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.
Justice Adesanya adjourned till January, 11, 2023 for adoption of final written addresses.