Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect in the murder of Super TV CEO, Usifo Ataga, has alleged that she was forced by the police to sign a statement they wrote.
Chidinma stated this while appearing before the Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Thursday, November 17.
Chidinma, who is standing trial for the alleged murder of Ataga alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri, claimed that the two statements she wrote were torn and she was forced to sign the one allegedly written by ASP Olusegun Bamidele.
She further alleged that aside from being forced to sign another statement allegedly dictated to her by officer Olufunke Madeyinlo, ASP Bamidele asked her to rehearse the statement and narrate it to the Commissioner of Police (CP).
She claimed that before being taken to the CP’s office at Ikeja, her hands were handcuffed to the chair she sat from June 23 till the next morning on June 24, 2021.
Recounting how her ordeal in the hands of the police began, Chidinma disclosed that she was in her room at their house, at No. 47 Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji Yaba, on June 23, 2021, when her 10-year-old little sister informed her that there were men at the sitting room asking after her.
She said after coming to the sitting room to see them, they asked if she was Chidinma and she answered yes. They reportedly asked her the whereabouts of Mr Ataga’s phone and the Range Rover jeep and she said she did not know.
Chidinma said when the police arrested her, she asked her father to call their family lawyer, Mr Onwuka Egwu.
She said that she was taken to DCP Razak Oseni’s office where police officers asked her a lot of questions.
“We went back to my house and back to the DCP’s office. At DCP’s office, he asked me questions. I told him that I don’t know anything about the death of Mr Ataga, that was when they made the video that was played in court.
“The DCP said I should make my statement. IPO Bamidele, therefore, 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, Bamidele took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote what I narrated at the DCP’s office.
“While I was writing, Bamidele took the statement from me, read it and said it was not what happened. I told him, sir, what I am writing is what happened. I also told him that I asked my father to call my lawyer, he said my Dad cannot make a call that he was in custody with them. I then started writing the statement.
“When he took the statement from me and said this is not what happened. I told him sir, this is what happened. I received two slaps from the back from Mr Jemiyo. Jemiyo and Chris were sitting behind me, the only person facing me was Bamidele. He said, ‘you are going to write the truth’.
“He tore all the statements I had written and presented another blank statement form. I told him, ‘sir, I was writing the truth, you tore it’. He said if I do not comply, my family, my Dad, 10-year-old sister and my relatives will be charged with this murder case.” She said.
Also recounting how officer Bamidele allegedly brought out his phone, played the video of the scene at the apartment and showed her pictures of Mr Ataga’s body, Chidinma said the police officer then asked her to write, and while writing, the officer allegedly slapped her and said she was slow.
She said when she told the officer that she was not feeling well, he took the statement form from her and wrote the statement for her and handcuffed her hands to the chair.
“This is what you are going to say or else your family will be charged. He read the statement to me again and told me to rehearse it, that tomorrow (June 24, 2021), I will take it to the CP’s office and say that’s what happened. He left me there, it was around midnight”. She narrated.
Chidinma also claimed that when the officers came back in the morning, they asked her to sign the statement.
During cross-examination by the prosecution, Oluwafemi, she affirmed that she signed the statements. She claimed that the second statement was dictated while the first was written.
After Chidinma’s testimony at the trial, the judge gave the prosecution and the defence 14 days each to file their written addresses in the trial within trial.
Justice Adesanya then adjourned the case until January 11, 2023, for the adoption of final written addresses in the trial within trial.