Murder of Usifo Ataga: “Police made me sign a statement they wrote” (Chidinma Ojukwu)

This was said by Chidinma on November 17 when she appeared before the Tafawa Balewa Square-based Lagos High Court.

Chidinma Ojukwu, the main suspect in the killing of Super TV CEO Usifo Ataga, claims that the police coerced her into signing a statement they had written.

This was said by Chidinma on November 17 2022 when she appeared before the Tafawa Balewa Square-based Lagos High Court.

Chidinma claimed that the two statements she wrote were torn and that she was forced to sign the one that was allegedly written by ASP Olusegun Bamidele. She is on trial for the alleged murder of Ataga along with her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and another individual named Adedapo Quadri.

She further claimed that ASP Bamidele instructed her to rehearse the statement and recount it to the police commissioner after she was reportedly compelled to sign another statement that was purportedly dictated to her by officer Olufunke Madeyinlo (CP).

Her hands, she alleged, were shackled to the chair where she sat from June 23 until the following morning, June 24, 2021, before she was transferred to the CP’s office in Ikeja.

Chidinma described how her ordeal with the police started while she was in her room at their home at No. 47 Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji Yaba, on June 23, 2021. At that time, her 10-year-old sister alerted her that there were men in the living room looking for her.

She claimed that when she went to the sitting room to meet with them, they inquired about her identity and she confirmed that she was Chidinma. She reportedly replied that she was unsure of the whereabouts of Mr. Ataga’s phone and the Range Rover jeep when they reportedly queried her.

When the police detained Chidinma, she reportedly urged her father to call their family attorney, Mr. Onwuka Egwu.

She claimed that she was questioned extensively by police while being taken to DCP Razak Oseni’s office.

“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 explained.

In addition, Chidinma recalled how officer Bamidele allegedly pulled out his phone, played the footage of the incident at the apartment, and displayed images of Mr. Ataga’s body before asking her to write. As she was writing, the officer allegedly slapped her and reprimanded her for being slow, according to Chidinma.

According to her, after informing the officer that she wasn’t feeling well, he took the statement form from her, wrote it 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 described.

The officers allegedly asked Chidinma to sign the statement when they returned in the morning, according to Chidinma.

Oluwafemi confirmed that she signed the statements when questioned by the prosecution during cross-examination. She asserted that the first statement was written while the second was spoken aloud.

After Chidinma testified during the trial, the judge gave the prosecution and defense 14 days each to submit their written responses to the case.

In order to adopt the final written addresses in the trial within a trial, Justice Adesanya then put the case on hold until January 11, 2023.

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