MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Rossie Tam-West
The prime suspect in the gruesome murder of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Michael Usifo Ataga in June this year at Lagos leisure apartment, Chidinma Ojukwu has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.
Lagos State Government had on Tuesday arraigned Chidinma Ojukwu and Adedapo Quadri, who are the two key suspects in the murder of Ataga, before the State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square.
The two defendants are facing an eight count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.
The first defendant’s sister Chioma Egbuchu, is facing one count which is the nineth count charge, bordering on stealing of iPhone 7, belonging to late Ataga.
The State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) , Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, told the court that the defendants conspired amongst themselves and allegedly murdered the deceased on June 15, 2021 adding 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and ATM cards of Access and GT Banks belonging to the late Usifo Ataga from which the sum of N380,000 was subsequently withdrawn.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 are punishable under Sections 411, 233, 365 (2) b, 280, 329, of the criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.
However, the 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, who was arraigned before Justice Yetunde Adesanya, alongside Quadri and Egbuchi, pleaded not guilty to the charge against them.
Earlier, Mr O. Egwu, announced his appearance for the first defendant, while Mr Babatunde Busari, announced his appearance for the second defendant and the Director Office of the Public Defender, Dr Babajide Martins appeared for the third defendant.
Ojukwu, 21, was alleged to have murdered Ataga, in a Service apartment in Lekki area of Lagos State.
Usifo was found dead with multiple stab wounds on June 16 at a short-let apartment on Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase I where he had checked in with his lover, Ojukwu.
The defendant was consequently arrested on June 23 in her father’s house in Yaba and paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja.
The 50-year-old deceased Ataga, was buried on July 30 in a low-key ceremony attended by his family members, including his wife, and friends.
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.