Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of the Chief Executive Officer, Super TV, Usifo Ataga, on Thursday, told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, that she was slapped and forced to sign statements written by policemen in the state.
Chidinma, who testified in her trial-within-trial as defence witness one, told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that policemen including Assistant Superintendent of Police, Olusegun Bamidele, and Olufunke Madeyinlo, told her to sign statements against her will.
She said Bamidele told her to narrate the statement he wrote to the state Commissioner of Police after tearing the statement she wrote.
Chidinma is standing trial over the alleged murder of Ataga. She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
Addressing the court on Thursday, Chidinma, while being led in evidence in the trial-within-trial by her counsel, Onwunka Egwu, told the court that on June 23, 2021, she was in her room at home when her 10-year-old sister informed her that some men were asking after her.
The witness said, “Immediately, my sister called my Dad (her foster father, Onoh Ojukwu), who came out and asked who the men were? They said they were policemen from (SCID), Panti, and that they came to arrest me and to search the house or that I should go in and bring the (Ataga’s) phone.
“I said I don’t know where the phone and car is and one of the policemen slapped me. My dad said you cannot slap my daughter in my house and the policemen tried to enter the room from the passage.”
Chidnma said when the policemen were taking her away, she told her foster dad to call the family lawyer, Egwu, adding that when they got to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, she was taken to the office of a policeman, Razak Oseni, who, alongside other policemen, questioned her.
She said, “We went back to my house and then returned to the DCP’s office and he started questioning me. I told him I don’t know anything about the death of Mr Ataga, and that was when they made the video that was played in court.
“The DCP said I should make my statement then the IPO, Bamidele, took me to the interrogating room with Mr Chris, and gave me a blank statement form and asked me to write what happened.
“I started writing, then he (Bamidele) took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote what I said at the DCP’s office. While writing the statement, Bamidele read through it and said it was not what happened.”
Chidinma said she told Bamidele that she was writing what happened, adding that before she started writing the statement, she informed him to help her confirm if her foster father had called the family lawyer.
She said, “He (Bamidele) said my (foster) dad cannot make a call as he was in custody. That was when I started writing the statement. When he said the statement I wrote was not what happened, and I told him it was what happened, I received two slaps from Mr Jemiyo.
“Jemiyo and Chris sat at the back and Bamidele was facing me. He said you are going to write the truth, tore the statement I wrote, and presented another blank statement form. I told him I was writing the truth and you tore it.
“He said if I did not comply, my family, my dad, 10-year-old sister and relative will be charged in the murder case. He (Bamidele) brought out his phone, played the video obtained from the scene of the apartment and showed me pictures of Mr Ataga’s body.
“He said now you are going to write and then I started writing. He said why I am slow and I received another slap on my back. I told him that I was not feeling well and needed to rest. He (Bamidele) said there was no time, he then collected the statement form from me and he started writing. Chris then handcuffed my hands to the chair.”
Chidinma said Bamidele initially asked her questions but later stopped, adding that after he was done writing, he read the statement to her and she said what he wrote was not what happened.
She said, “He said this is what you are going to say or else my family will be charged. He read the statement to me again and told me that I should rehearse it. He said that is what I should tell the CP.
“Bamidele and Chris returned in the morning and said I should sign the statement but as I was reluctant in signing it, Chris said I should because nobody is coming for me and that they will provide me with a good government lawyer.
“After signing the statement, I was brought out of the interrogation room, given water to wash my face, and then we entered a vehicle and drove to Ikeja. When we arrived at Bamidele took me to the CP and I said what Bamidele wrote.”
She said after her interrogation at the CP’s office, she was taken down stairs where she saw a lot of people (journalists) with cameras, adding that she was not feeling well as at then.
Chidinma said, “After I was taken to the press, then we drove back to Panti where Bamidele said we are going to do a video recording, and he said I should say everything he had written in the statement and they recorded the video which was played here in court.
“I was returned to the cell; in the evening on the same June 24, Oseni brought me out of the cell, took me to an office, where Madeyinlo and another female officer Bola were. When Oseni left, I was given a blank statement form and I was told to write another statement.
“Jemiyo also walked in and I said I had already written a statement. I said I am tired and have not eaten. I was just sitting when Jemiyo came beside me and hit my head on a wooden table. This was when officer Bola had left.
“Madeyinlo said I should start writing. I picked the pen, wrote the date, my name, then she (Madeyinlo) started dictating to me and said that I should write what she said. I started writing and at the end of writing the statement, she asked me to sign.”
Akwa Ibom YPP Guber Candidate Bags 42 Years In Prison Over Corruption
The senator representing Uyo Senatorial District, Bassey Akpan has been sentenced to 42 years in prison without an option of fine for corruption.
Akpan, the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party, (YPP), Akwa Ibom State, was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissíon (EFCC).
Delivering her judgement at the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Agatha Okeke found Senator Akpan guilty on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and receipt of exotic cars worth two hundred and four million naira (N204m).
During the court proceeding, Defense Counsel Solomon Umoh (SAN) pleaded with the Court for leniency as the convict has a young wife and children to cater for.
He also pleaded that the court should temper justice with mercy by including an option of fine. But that was opposed by EFCC, citing legal authority to convince the court not to give fine as an option, particularly in the light of the fact that the court has not opted for the maximum sentence.
Akpan was arraigned by the anti-graft agency on June 24, 2019, at the Federal High Court, Uyo for corruption charges.
He was accused of receiving from Jide Omokore, a BMW X5 (bulletproof) worth N50 million in December 2012 and another Infinity QX 56 (bulletproof) worth N45 million from the same source.
In November 2013, he also received a Toyota Landcruiser V8( bulletproof) valued at N40 million and in March 2014, he received a Range Rover, valued at N40 million. Also in September 2014, another Toyota Hiace High Roof bus valued at N27 million was received from the businessman.
Additionally, he was prosecuted for receiving at different times between 2012-2014, Toyota Hiace High Roof buses valued at N16 million and six units of Toyota Hilux vehicles valued at N36 million.
The EFCC which was investigating money used for the 2015 elections, spotlighted Jide Omokore, who was suspected as a conduit through which illegal funds were used for elections. While interrogating the businessman, he mentioned his numerous transactions with Obong Bassey Albert, who was a commissioner in the state and now a senator.
Meanwhile, the senator has been taken to the Correctional Centre, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, where he is expected to serve his jail term.
How Lagos RCCG Pastor Was Killed –Brother
A prosecution witness, Omoniyi Dada, in the ongoing trial of two teenage boys, Farouk Mohammed, and Kasali Jamiu, who allegedly killed a Redeemed Christian Church of God’s pastor, Babatunde, has told the court how he found out about his brother’s death.
Omoniyi, who is the first prosecution witness, told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State that he got to know that his brother was killed in the church when he received a phone call from his younger sister.
Justice Sherifat Sonaike remanded Mohammed and Jamiu on October 20, following their arraignment over the murder of the 46-year-old pastor.
At the commencement of trial, Omoniyi, who was led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution, Dr Babajide Martins, told justice Sonaike that before he got to the church, his sister informed him that the pastor’s corpse had been taken to the Navy Town Hospital.
The witness said, “According to my sister, Oluwakemi, on that fateful day, my deceased brother told her and the other laundry workers that he was going to the bank and that he would be back.
“She said when he returned, he went upstairs in the church to rest, and she was now thinking of why her brother had not come down after resting for quite some time.”
One of the laundry workers went up to pick a cloth to wash, on getting there, he screamed.
“The worker screamed and called the rest; they all met the pastor in a pool of blood and he was coughing out blood. They noticed that the two strange boys, Farouk and Jamiu, were not there.”
During cross-examination, the counsel for the first defendant, Oyekanmi Isijola, asked the witness how he got to know about the incident.
The witness confirmed that the whole incident was related to him by his sister, as he didn’t witness it.
The court could not proceed with the second witness, Inspector Daniel Olumuyiwa, because his name was not listed on the list of witnesses.
JUST IN: Appeal Court Upholds Conviction Of Maina’s Son
The Appellate Court in Abuja has upheld the conviction of Faisal, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, for conspiracy and money laundering.
Maina, the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, is serving an eight-year jail term at Kuje Prison in Abuja for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion and his son has been named an accomplice.
Meanwhile, in a judgment on Thursday, November 24, 2022, a three-member panel of the appeal court reduced the term of imprisonment from 14 years to seven years on the grounds that he (Faisal) is a first-time offender.
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In the judgement by Justice Ugochukwu Anthony Ogakwu, the court held that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja was right to have convicted Faisal.
“But as a first-time offender, the trial court ought not to have handed the convict the maximum punishment under the law,” Ogakwu added.
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