• Court fixes February 13 for adoption of written addresses in trial within trial
The trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, could not continue, yesterday, due to the prosecution’s inability to respond to her written address.
The defendant, an undergraduate student of the University of Lagos, is standing trial before a Lagos State High Court, for alleged murder of Ataga. She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri. The court had on November 17, 2022, adjourned till January 11, 2023 for adoption of written addresses in a trial-within-trial it conducted to ascertain if the statement of the defendant at a police station was made voluntarily.
The defendant had told the court that she was slapped and forced to sign statements written by the police. Ojukwu said so while testifying in the trial-within-trial.
The defendant said during her defence that ASP Olusegun Bamidele and Olufunke Madeyinlo told her to sign statements against her will. She also said that Bamidele told her to narrate his own written statement to the commissioner of police after tearing her statement.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, prosecution counsel, Mr T. E. Onilade, informed the court that prosecution received Ojukwu’s written address last week.
Onilade said: “The first defendant’s address was served on us during the festive period; we only received service last week but we have not replied.”
Ojukwu’s counsel, Mr O. Okemezie, confirmed that the address was dated December 23, 2022, adding that there was a motion on notice in support of the written address as well as a seven-paragraph affidavit.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until February 13, 2023 for adoption of the written addresses. The 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 an 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 suspects are also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank statements of account purported to have been made by the deceased.