Investigative Police Officer, Insp Ibrahim Isaka, on Thursday narrated how police allegedly discovered Usifo Ataga, Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, in the pool of his blood.
Isiaka, the sixth prosecution witness, testified in the trial of Chidinma Ojukwu for alleged murder of Ataga, before a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square.The witness said that the police consequently called the emergency Unit at Yaba General Hospital and evacuated Ataga’s corpse.
Ojukwu is standing trial alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri, for alleged murder, stealing and forgery.
Isiaka, who said he had worked as a police personnel for 28 years, told the court that on June 16, 2021, a case of murder was reported at his place of work, Maroko Police Station.
According to him, at 11:30 p.m., one Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, came to the station and reported that a body was discovered at her short-service facility where people lodged.He testified that Mogbo narrated to the police that the security guard at the facility informed her that the body of a man who lodged in the facility was discovered lying in the pool of his blood.
The witness said that Mogbo also told the police that a cleaner in the facility went to clean the apartment but there was no response from the people who lodged there.He said that the security guard and the cleaner forcefully opened the door and discovered Ataga in the pool of blood.
The witness said the police including the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) went to the crime scene.“The DPO immediately called the Emergency Unit at Yaba General Hospital, the hospital came and evacuated the corpse.
“The following morning, June 17, the commissioner of police advised that the case be transferred to the Homicide Section, Panti,” Isiaka said.He said that a police team from Panti asked him to follow the team to the crime scene and he did.Isiaka said that the police found some clothes and a travelling bag in the apartment and collected the items for investigation.He said that he wrote a statement and handed the case file to the police at Panti.
Prosecution counsel, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi, also Deputy Director of Lagos State Directorate Public Prosecutions, sought to tender the witness’s statement as evidence but Quadri’s counsel, Mr Babatunde Busari, objected.Busari said that the statement was extrajudicial (a statement made outside the court) and, therefore, not admissible.
He cited some Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions to support his objection.Other defence counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu for Ojukwu, and Mr O. A. Ogunsanya for Egbuchu, did not object to tendering of the statement.Justice Yetunde Adesanya, however, overruled the objection, saying that it failed.
After the ruling, counsel to Ojukwu, cross-examined the witness during which he testified that the case was assigned to him by a charge room officer.He added that he carried out his investigations subject to instructions given to him by the DPO and DCO.
After the cross-examination, Justice Adesanya adjourned the case until Feb. 21 for continuation of trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three defendants were arraigned on Oct. 12 on a nine-count charge preferred against them 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 of stealing iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.The first and second defendants were alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him severally with a knife on the neck and chest.The alleged murder took place at No. 19, Adewale Oshin St., Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The duo was also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.