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Police Officer Tells Court How Chidinma Stabbed Usifo Ataga

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A police officer serving with the homicide department of the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID), Yaba, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, has continued his testimony at the Lagos High Court in the alleged murder case of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga.

Picking up from where he left off on Monday, the police officer, while answering questions on Tuesday from the Lagos State’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Adenike Oluwafemi, told the court how investigations revealed where the late Usifo Ataga and Chidinma might have met before arriving at the crime scene.

The witness said, “while I was investigating into the background, I and a friend of the deceased went to Angel Villa Hotel in Lekki. The owner of the hotel was approached and the story was related to him. Luckily the hotel had a CCTV which revealed the presence of the deceased and Chidinma at the hotel”.

“After we tracked her to her home in Alagomeji and brought her to the DCP’s office, she was asked about her relationship with the deceased. She denied initially and this prompted us to deploy the CCTV. She then agreed that she is the Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu we were looking for.

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“We then took her in company of her foster father, one Onoh Ojukwu, back to the house in Alagomeji where we initially arrested her. We conducted a search of the house in their presence.”

According to the officer, the search yielded a maroon-coloured cloth which Chidinma wore on the day the late Usifo Ataga was murdered.

“The cloth was stained with blood,” Bamidele said. “Then Onoh Ojukwu shouted ‘Chidinma, you have killed me, you have done something wrong outside.’ Chidinma was also crying. We also recovered the black/blue long-sleeved gown she wore when she left the apartment in Lekki. This further established that she has something to do with the deceased.

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“We recovered Access bank statements of the deceased, we recovered a UBA bank statements with the name Mary Johnson, an ID card with Chidinma’s picture but which carried the name Mary Johnson, an international passport with her picture, a Uniport certificate with Chidinma’s name boldly written on it, her phone and some other documents I can’t recollect. We then went back to the office.”

He testified that at the office, he provided Chidinma with some food, malt drink and water; she ate it, after which he started to question her and record her statement.

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“She said she knew the deceased, that they met at a hangout in Victoria Island. The deceased was introduced to her by her friend’s boyfriend. She mentioned the friend as Fiyin and the boyfriend as Tony. She said the relationship started in February and after a while, they developed sexual relations.

“I remember she mentioned a date, 12th June, 2021. She received a call from the deceased that they needed to see and go out. Based on the request, she sourced for the apartment.

“She confessed that shortly after her arrival at the apartment, on the 13th, the deceased drove in, in his Range Rover. On his arrival, she said they were both hungry and drove out to eat and returned to the apartment, watched film, conversed, leading up to sex. They also engaged in smoking ‘loud’. On the 14th, they did the same thing.

“She said she initially came in with the ‘loud’. That’s the name she called it. After they finished it, they needed more. She recollected that she made a call to the second defendant, Quadri who helped her source for the loud and another drug called ‘Potion’. She also mentioned that the items were brought in through a despatch rider to the apartment.

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“She described Adedapo Quadri as someone introduced to her by a friend. That Dapo supplied the drugs to her. The IPO asked her the potency of the drugs. She responded that a tablet is enough to knock out whoever uses it while loud is a light cigarette smoke.

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“She said on the 15th, after engaging in smoking, the deceased asked for more sex, which she denied him. The deceased went to the chair to relax and she thought he was no more interested in sex, only for him to return to the bed to ask for more sex. She said she pushed him away, which resulted in him knocking her head against a stool that had a glass.

“Having sustained injury on the head and knees, there was a struggle between them and she said she managed to lay hands on a kitchen knife with which she stabbed the deceased on the neck twice. She confessed that she stabbed him severally without counting and the deceased eventually fell to the floor in the room.

The police officer also narrated to the court Chidinma’s statement on how she met the second defendant, Adedapo Quadri.

“When we interacted with the first defendant, she mentioned the second defendant, Quadri and how they met,” Bamidele said.

“On the premise of this, we carried out a search on the call logs of the first defendant since she said she doesn’t know his house or address. The call log showed regular calls between both of them.

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“They spoke on phone twice on the 15th June 2021. On the 17th, there was a conversation between both of them for about three times. On 18th, there was conversation twice. On 21st of June, it is also established that they called each other and this prompted the tracking team to swing into action. Eventually he was tracked to Surulere in Lagos, arrested and brought to the office.

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“During interactions with him, he confessed that he knows the first defendant who was introduced to him by one of his friends called Sam. The same Sam had earlier told Chidinma that Adedapo Quadri is capable and can assist her to prepare any documents she needs.

“Quadri also mentioned that Sam gave him Chidinma’s phone number after which he called Chidinma and they agreed on where to meet. He confirmed that they met at Sabo and another time at Alagomeji area.

“During their interactions, he agreed to the request of Chidinma to assist her with preparing certain documents. The documents he assisted her to procure are drivers license, an identity card, UBA statement of accounts, Access bank statement of accounts and a passport.

“The UBA statement of account carried the name Mary Johnson while the Access bank statement has Michael Usifo Ataga’s name on it.

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“The drivers license has the picture of the first defendant on it with the name, Mary Johnson.”

The prosecution has told the court that it wants to make sure the officer gives evidence on all he knows about the case after which it will watch all the CDs gathered as evidence.

Justice Adesanya adjourned further proceedings till Thursday, May 12.

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Crime

Inspector sentenced to death for killing phone dealer

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The Delta State High Court sitting at Asaba on Tuesday sentenced Inspector Ubi Ebri of the Nigeria Police Force to death on a murder charge.

The court presided over by Justice C. D. Diai convicted and sentenced the Inspector to death for killing a phone dealer, Mr Onyeka Ibeh, in Asaba.

 

Also read: Delta police arrest inspector for shooting boy during stop and search

 

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Ibeh, a popular phone dealer in Asaba, along with his wife was driving from Ugbolu to Asaba on April 5, 2023, when they were flagged down by the police team for a search.

The deceased was said to have stopped but after waiting for a while to be searched, and they were not being attended to, decided to move away

Infuriated by the action of the deceased, the police inspector immediately opened fire into the vehicle and the bullet hit the late Ibeh on the head and he died on the spot.

The wife of the deceased who sat in the front seat was unhurt.

The killing of the phone dealer led to protests by youths along the streets of Asaba and to police headquarters to demand justice.

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However, the prosecution, led by a director in the Ministry of Justice, Mr E.H. Edema, accused the policeman of killing Ibeh.

Edema alleged that the defendant was part of a police patrol team that mounted a stop and search exercise on April 5, 2023, along the Ugbolu Asaba Road in the state capital.

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Edema who told Journalists after the judgement said, “Today’s judgement is a landmark judgement because justice has been served in this case to the deceased and society at large.”

Also, the elder brother of the deceased, Mr Ifeanyi Ibeh, who witnessed the judgement, also commended the court for delivering justice to his family.

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Crime

Terrorists kidnap travellers along Maiduguri-Kano Highway

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Suspected Boko Haram terrorists have abducted scores of travellers along the Maiduguri-Kano highway.

According to Theheute, the insurgents abducted the passengers on Monday evening between Garin Kuturu and Mannanari village near Auno along the Damaturu highway.

 

Also read : Terrorists attack Yobe military base, kill soldier

 

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It was learnt that the insurgents reportedly blocked the highway before forcefully abducting some passengers, while other commuters had to return to Benishek and Auno, respectively.

“There was an incident between Mannanari and Garin Kuturu where some Boko Haram fighters came out to block the upcoming vehicles and some passengers were abducted.

“We are not sure of the number as we speak but certainly there was an abduction on Monday evening,” the source told the newspaper.

Residents also narrated that commercial drivers took refuge in their community during the attack by bandits between Garin Kuturu and Mannanari villages.

“They came out with three wheelbarrows and I believe they were looking for foodstuff. We don’t know how many people were abducted but some commercial drivers came back and later returned to Maiduguri before reinforcement of military arrived.”

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Also speaking, a passenger, who craved anonymity, said he and others were stranded along the highway for hours.

He said: “We were heading for Kano from Maiduguri when the driver got hinted about the attack and took a detour

“We have been waiting for the military to clear the road but we don’t know when. We are stranded here.”

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Crime

2,545 security personnel killed in four years, says group

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2,545 security personnel killed in four years, says group

The Advocacy Centre for Development has lamented the killing of 2,545 security officers, and 17,886 civilians and the abduction of 15,597 persons from 2019 to 2023.

Disclosing this on Friday in Gombe State at the end of a one-day roundtable engagement with stakeholders on National Day of Mourning, the Convener and Team Lead, Ibrahim Yusuf, blamed the political class for the wanton killings.

Also read : Over 87 FCT residents killed, 176 kidnapped under Tinubu – Investigation

 

This year marks the 7th National Day of Mourning, as declared by the Joint Nigeria Crisis Action Committee on May 28, 2018.

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The day was called to denounce the level of impunity and frequency of violent killings in the country.

A statement in 2018 by Chidi Odinkalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Abiodun Baiyewu, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver and Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani) on behalf of the Co-Ordinating Committee of JN-CAC said the day of national mourning would witness a set of activities for remembrance, solidarity and awakening to the challenges confronting the nation.

Speaking on the seventh edition in Gombe, Yusuf decried the reckless use of the military in civil matters, calling for an end to killings and abductions in the country.

Yusuf said, “The killing of 2,545 security officers and 17, 886 civilians as well as abduction of 15,597 persons from 2019 to 2023 across the country were the clear absence of political will.”

While lamenting the surge in atrocities against women, children, Persons with Disabilities, students, teachers and the most vulnerable, schools and institutions of learning, he regretted that the government appeared unwilling to take urgent action to protect the demographics.

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“The armed forces are deployed in all 36 states of Nigeria on internal security operations, thereby retrenching the constitutional role of the Nigeria Police Force. This is a constitutional anomaly. The rise in fatalities from military operations shows that the military is over-stretched. This cannot continue.

“Here in Gombe State, we have issues of farmer/herder clashes in some communities of the state during the rainy season and we are calling on the state government and the security agencies and the traditional institutions to do the needful, without fear or favour, by putting an end to the issues of unrest in the state,” he said.

He lauded as timely, the establishment of the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs and and the inauguration of Operation Hattara and Gombe Security Traffic and Environmental Corps by the Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya.

“As Nigerians bleed, we have come together on this seventh National Day of Mourning to ask the people in authority to take urgent steps in preventing the menace,” he said.

The group, in a 10-point communique signed by Saidu Malala, chairman; Abubakar Jibrin, member; and Garba Ubale, member; asked communities to participate in providing useful, timely and accurate information to security operatives.

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It called for the reactivation of the roles of traditional institutions in society and, the reintroduction of educational marshals in schools to guard against drug abuse, youth restiveness and other social vices.

It added, “Religious leaders should at all times preach the gospel of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding in their places of worship.

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“Operators of social media handles and platforms should refrain from posting unverified information that may trigger friction between communities.

“Conventional media have been described as key players in sensitising the public on the importance of peaceful coexistence.

“Proactive measures to be taken by both security operatives and citizens in bringing lasting peace in the country.

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“The roundtable also emphasised peaceful coexistence among communities, irrespective of the diverse ethnic, cultural, political and religious settings in the country.”

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