Ataga’s Murder: Change of Counsel Stalls Chidinma trial

The trial of an alleged murder suspect of the Chief Executive Officer of Super Tv, Usifo Ataga, before a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Chidinma Ojukwu, was stalled due to change of third defendant’s counsel.

Ojukwu, is standing trial bothering on murder, stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.

At the resumed hearing of the trial, the counsel to the third defendant Mrs, J. I. Osaigede, who stood in for Mr O. A. Ogunsanya, informed the court that the Office of the Public Defender OPD, was no longer representing Chioma Egbuchu, the third defendant.

She said that the third defendant, Chioma Egbuchu had written them that she is no longer needs of their services.

However, the new counsel Ngozi Akandu, who announced his appearance for the third defendant, informed the court that he was just briefed about the case and that he needs time to go through the case file.

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In her response, the prosecution counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi said that the rule to fair hearing is there that litigants are free to get any counsel of their choice.

Meanwhile, the first defendant’s counsel Mr Onwuka Egwu, said he was not objecting to the third defendant’s application.

But the second defendant’s counsel Mr Babatunde Busari, who did not object to the third defendant’s application, however advised that they should tidy their house before the next adjourned date.

Subsequently, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, further adjourned the case till May 16, 2022, for continuation of trial.

On the last adjourned date, the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, while giving evidence, told the court how Chidinma Ojukwu and the deceased Usifo Ataga met.

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Bamidele said that during investigations, Chidinma’s phone was tracked which led to her arrest. Upon arrest, she was questioned by the investigating police team.

He said that Chidinma initially denied not knowing the deceased but eventually admitted that she was introduced to the deceased through her friend Fiyin, who was dating Ataga’s friend, Tony. They struck a relationship which became sexual with time.

The three defendants were arraigned on October, 12, 2021, 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.

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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.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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