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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

N10bn fraud: Court grants ex-Kwara gov N50m bail

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A Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, has given a N50m bail condition for the embattled former governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, after he pleaded not guilty to 12 counts bordering on alleged mismanagement of public funds to the tune of N10bn.

The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned Ahmed before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court in Ilorin on Friday.

The immediate past governor of Kwara State has been in the custody of the EFCC after being initially invited for questioning on Monday.

Among the charges against the former governor is the use of N1,610,730,500.00 meant for the security and running cost of the Government of Kwara State, in chartering private jets for local travels, on different occasions through Travel Messengers Limited, while he was governor between 2015-2019.

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Another charge against the governor was the conversion of the sum of N411m meant for the provision of security in the state between January and December 2018.

Also named as second defendant, was former Kwara state Commissioner of Finance, Ademola Banu, who, in a statement by EFCC Director of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, is facing a 10-count charge “also bordering on mismanagement of public funds while he served under Ahmed’s administration as commissioner for finance”.

According to the statement, when the matter was called, EFCC’s lead counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the court that Banu jumped an administrative bail granted him by the EFCC and efforts to arrest him had proved abortive.

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He urged the court to rely on Section 83 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, to issue a summons against his surety, Salami Bashiru Ola and/or a warrant of arrest against the second defendant (Banu).

The defence led by Kehinde Eleja, SAN, did not put any defence in favour of the second defendant, as he said that his appearance was for the first defendant. In a short ruling, Justice Anyadike issued a bench warrant against Banu.

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“After listening to the arguments and counter-arguments of both counsels, Justice Anyadike admitted the first defendant to bail in the sum of N50m, with two sureties in like sum.

“According to the judge, the sureties must deposit their passports with the court’s registrar. One of the sureties must have a landed property in Ilorin with the title documents of the property deposited with the Registrar of the Federal High Court,” the EFCC state read in part.

Justice Anyadike thereafter ordered the defendant to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the perfection of his bail terms, while the case was adjourned to April 29th and 30th, 2024 for the commencement of trial.

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Crime

Two guards, fuel attendants killed in Ebonyi community attack

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There was panic at the Iboko community in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on Tuesday, when gunmen stormed the area and killed no fewer than two security guards and two fuel attendants during attacks in the community.

An eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said the gunmen disguised as natives, stopped at strategic locations in the community and bought food items before unleashing the mayhem.

According to him, no few than over 500 people in the area, comprising women, traders and pupils, scampered for safety while equally abandoning their wares, when the incident occurred.

A worker at the Ebonyi State High Court, Abakaliki, told our correspondent in confidence that she missed being lynched by the hoodlums, adding the incident was destabilising.

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He said, “According to a report, the gunmen first stopped at a popular filling station at Iboko and filled their vehicles with fuel before gunning down two persons there.

“They moved to where the Ebubeagu operatives (now called Neighbourhood Vigilante members) were and opened fire on them, killing one Fredrick Idike and another person.”

The source added, “They equally used an axe to slice two of the vigilante members, whose corpses have been deposited at the mortuary.

“Yesterday was Iboko Market and the ugly incident made the traders to start running for safety.

“The whole market was deserted yesterday because of the ugly incident.”

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The Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the incident when our correspondent contacted it.

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The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ukandu Joshua, said, “Yes. It happened. Two lives were lost. But we are still investigating.”

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Crime

Painter bags life jail for raping neighbour’s daughter

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The Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, on Wednesday, convicted and sentenced a painter, Azeez Salau, to life imprisonment for defiling his neighbour’s nine-year-old daughter.

Justice Abiola Soladoye handed down the sentence after finding Salau guilty of the offence of defilement charge preferred against him by the Lagos State Government.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Soladoye held that the convict was a sexual pervert who entered the room of his neighbour while she had gone to work at night and sexually assaulted the girl.

The court held that the survivor recognised the convict as ‘Daddy Kalid’ who had sex with her three times in her mother’s room while her mother was at work.

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Justice Soladoye said the testimony of the survivor was clear, coherent and consistent even when she was cross-examined, as her evidence was corroborated by the medical report.

She said that the prosecution had sufficiently proved the three ingredients of defilement against the convict.

The judge held that the survivor, in this case, gave vivid, thorough evidence which was corroborated by the medical report.

“The survivor who was the first prosecution testified before this court that she lived with her mother and identified the Salau in the dock as their neighbour, known as Daddy Kalid.

“She said that the convict would come to her room and have sexual intercourse with her and that no one was usually home when it happened. She said ‘I am always on the bed and he is also on the bed with me.

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“He touches my body with his hands and uses his penis to have sex with me through my vagina.”

The court also held the evidence of Dr. Alagbe Oyedeji of Mirabel Medical Centre who said that the medical report showed multiple healed lacerations as there was blunt forceful penetration of the vagina.

Justice Soladoye also held that the testimony of the survivor’s mother who testified that she was a night worker and that the survivor and her brother were made to sleep alone in the house.

“The survivor’s mother told the court that one of her neighbours, Mummy Darasimi, informed her of the incident.”

But Salau in his defence said he had an issue with the mother of the girl but his story did not add up as he tried to distance himself from the commission of the crime.

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However, Justice Soladoye convicted him of the charge and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The judge said his name should be registered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.

She said: “The convict is a neighbour to the victim and in this case, he ought not to have done what he did to the child.

“This should serve as a strong warning to the perpetrators of this act that the day of reckoning is near.

“Parents are once again advised that the need for mentorship and monitoring of their children is not negotiable. Salau is hereby found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.”

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During the trial, the state prosecution counsel, Mr Olusola Soneye, who led Ms Abimbola Abolade, had called three witnesses while the convict testified as a sole witness.

The prosecutor told the court that the convict committed the offence sometime in January 2020 at Oshiboyede Street, Selewu, Igbogbo, Ikorodu Lagos.

According to the prosecution, the offence contravened Section 137 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

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