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Ataga’s Murder: Police Tells Court Chidinma Made Statement Voluntarily

By Wahab Akinlade

The Nigeria Police has told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Island, that Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged murderer of the Super TV Boss, Usifo Ataga, made a voluntary statement during her interrogation at their custody

Assistant Superintendent of Police, Olufunke Madeyinlo, gave this testimony in a trial within trial to ascertain whether Chidinma was coaxed, pressured or induced to make a statement that she killed Ataga by herself.

Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication undergraduate, of the University of Lagos, is standing trial over the alleged murder of Ataga.

She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside one Adedapo Quadri and her sister, Chioma Egbuchu.

At the resumption of trial, the Deputy Director of Prosecution, Adenike Oluwafemi, told the court that the matter was for the continuation of a trial within trial and that her witness, Olufunke Madeyinlo, was in court.

Oluwafemi then called the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Madeyinlo, who was part of the team that arrested and interrogated the first defendant, to give her testimony in the trial within the trial.

Madeyinlo said on June 24, 2021, the Officer-in-Charge of the Homicide Section, Panti, Yaba, Razak Oseni, brought Chidinma to her office to write a statement.

She said she gave Chidinma a statement form and a pen, thereafter, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCID, Panti, Yaba, Adegoke Fayoade, sent for Oseni and he left the first defendant in her office.

The witness, who testified as the second prosecution witness in the trial within trial, said after about 40 minutes, Oseni came back to her office to collect the statement Chidinma had written.

Madeyinlo said, “Oseni collected the statement and went away with the first defendant, but nothing happened and nobody forced her to write the statement; she wrote the statement herself.”

During cross-examination by Chidinma’s lawyer, Onwuka Egwu, the witness said she shared her office with three other officers, ASP Gbolahan Jemiyo, ASP Gbola Alabi, and Inspector Kolawole Lukman.

When asked if it was after Jemiyo had assaulted Ojukwu that her statement was taken, Madeyinlo said it was only herself and Alabi that were present when the defendant made her statement.

Asked if she interacted with Chidinma while she was writing her statement, Madeyinlo answered in the affirmative.

Egwu asked the witness if she gave a 10-year-old girl her wrapper to cover herself for the night between June 23 and 24, 2021, she said she could not remember as it had been long.

When confronted with the fact that the foster father of the first defendant, Onoh Ojukwu, was also in custody within the same period, Madeyinlo said, “I saw (Onoh) Ojukwu moving freely. Somebody that is in custody cannot be moving like that.”

Asked if she knew what happened to the statement Chidinma made on June 24, the witness answered that she did not know.

Thereafter, Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case till November 17, for the first defendant to testify in the trial within the trial.

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