Ataga: Chidinma was tracked through her phone, Witness tells Court


A prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged murder suspect of the Chief Executive Officer of Super Tv, Usifo Taga, told a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square TBS, that Ojukwu was was tracked through her phone.

Bamidele the ninth witness said that the intelligent and tactical unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID) Yaba police station, tracked Ojukwu down at 57, Akinwunmi Street, Alagomeji, Yaba.

Bamidele, a police officer, serving at the homicide department section of SCID, Yaba, made the disclosure while giving evidence before Justice Yetunde Adesanya.

The witness (PW9) was led in evidence by the Lagos State Deputy Director for Public Prosecutions, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi.

Ojukwu, is standing trial bothering on murder, stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.

At the resumed trial yesterday, the police officer narrated how the case was transferred from Maroko police station to his own department at SCID Yaba.

He said the case was transferred and assigned to his team on June 17, 2021, with a suspect, one Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment where the incident occurred.

The witness said that the investigating police officer (IPO) from Maroko police station explained to him, how a complaint about a body with a mark of violence was brought to their station.

Bamidele said that the IPO from Maroko also informed him that he took pictures and made video recordings which was transferred into his Infinix Hot 4, smartphone.

The witness narrated that after receiving the complaint from the Maroko IPO, he visited the scene of crime alongside the IPO
and Mogbo, the owner of the place.

“We met the security guard who took us into the apartment and I observed that there were bloodstains on the floor, the bed was ruffled with bloodstains on the pillow and the Duvet.

“The IPO also took me to Yaba general hospital mortuary, to see the body and I observed that there were stab wounds on the deceased body, including injury on his head and knees.

“I also saw that the two wrists had marks indicating that they were tied,” Bamidele said.

The witness said that he interacted with Mogbo, she informed him that on June 13, a phone call came from one Jewel, who requested for a room at her short service apartment.

He also said that the security guard at the apartment also told him how the body of the deceased was discovered at the apartment where the said Jewel lodged with the deceased.

Bamidele further said that the security guard at the apartment gave him a phone number which the said Jewel had used in calling him while at the apartment.

“After getting the information from the security guard, we engaged a tracking team.

“The trackers with the intelligent and tactical unit, tracked one Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu, down, at 57, Akinwunmi Street, Alagomeji Yaba,” he said.

The witness also told the court that the statements of the owner of the apartment and the security were all taken and he identified the statements which were already in court as exhibits.

He also said that the pictures and videos in his phone were downloaded into a disc by an information technology expert in his office.

However, the prosecution counsel at that point, prayed for an adjournment to enable the prosecution bring the video for viewing and to tender it as evidence.

Earlier, an Access Bank account officer to the deceased, Mr Toafeek Lawal, gave evidence as the eighth witness.

He gave evidence on the Naira account statements of the deceased starting from April 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021.

He said that there were, however, no transactions on the account from June 19 to August 31.

He said that immediately the bank learnt of the death of late Usifo Ataga, the bank placed a Post No Debit (POD) on the account to stop any debit from being effected on the account.

He said that there were monies that were transferred from the deceased account on June 16 and the transactions were done through USSD platform to the deceased other account.

Lawal, also said that on June 17, some monies were transferred to the deceased account but on June 18, some monies were transferred from the deceased account to a different account.

He said that the deceased operated two accounts with the bank which were a Naira account and a Domiciliary account.

The witness was cross-examined by the first defendant’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu.

Egwu asked the witness to confirm that in a USSD mode of transfer, “the password is exclusive to the owner of the account”

The witness answered that the password was meant to be exclusive unless the owner decided otherwise.

Egwu also asked the witness to confirm how many payments were made to the first defendant during the period the statement covered.

The witness answered that it was only once.

However, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, adjourned the case until May 10 for continuation of trial.

The three defendants were arraigned on October, 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.

Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.

The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count – stealing of iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife on the neck and chest.

The alleged murder took place at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

The duo were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.

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