Chidinma Ojukwu, the suspect in the murder of Super TV chief executive Usifo Ataga, has alleged that she was forced by police to sign a statement they wrote.
Chidinma made the claim while appearing in a Lagos High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square on Thursday, November 17.
The former University of Lagos 300-level mass communication undergraduate student who is on trial alongside an Adedapo Quadri and her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, has claimed that the two statements she wrote had been torn up and that she had been forced to sign the one allegedly written by ASP Olusegun. Bamidele.
In addition to being forced to sign another statement allegedly dictated to her by officer Olufunke Madeyinlo, the murder suspect also claimed that Bamidele asked her to repeat the statement and tell it to the police commissioner (CP ).
She further alleged that before being taken to the PC office in Ikeja, her hands were handcuffed to the chair she sat on from June 23 to the following morning of June 24, 2021.
Recounting how her ordeal at the hands of the police began, Chidinma revealed that she was in her room at their home at 47 Akinwunmi Street, Alagomeji Yaba on June 23, 2021, when her 10-year-old younger sister informed her that there were men in the living room asking for her.
She said that after coming to the salon to see them, they asked if she was Chidinma and she said yes. They allegedly asked her where Mr Ataga’s phone and the Range Rover jeep were and she said she did not know.
Chidinma said that when the police arrested her, she asked her father to call their family lawyer, Mr Onwuka Egwu.
She said she was taken to the office of DCP Razak Oseni where police officers asked her many questions.
The former undergraduate said;
“We went back to my house and to the DCP office.
“At the DCP office, he asked me questions. I told him that I knew nothing about Mr. Ataga’s death, that’s when they made the video that was shown in court.
“The PCD said I had to make my statement. IPO Bamidele therefore took me to the interrogation room with Mr. Chris, gave me a blank declaration form and asked me to write down what had happened.
“I started to write, Bamidele took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote down what I told the DCP office.
“While I was writing, Bamidele took the statement from me, read it and said that was not what happened.
“I told him, sir, what I write is what happened. I also told him that I asked my dad to call my lawyer, he said my dad couldn’t call that he was in custody with them. I then began to write the statement.
“When he took my statement and said that’s not what happened. I told him sir, that’s what happened. I got two slaps on the back from M .Jemiyo.
“Jemiyo and Chris sat behind me, the only person in front of me was Bamidele. He said, ‘you are going to write the truth’.
“He tore up all the declarations I had written and presented another blank declaration form. I said to him: ‘Sir, I was writing the truth, you tore it up’.
“He said if I didn’t comply, my family, my father, my 10-year-old sister and my relatives would be charged in this murder case.”
Also recounting how officer Bamidele allegedly took out his phone, played the video of the scene in the apartment and showed him photos of Mr Ataga’s body, Chidinma said the police officer then asked him to write, and while he was writing, the officer allegedly slapped her and said she was slow.
When she told the officer she was not feeling well, she claimed the officer took the statement form from her, wrote it down for her, and cuffed her hands to the chair.
“That’s what you’re going to say, otherwise your family will be accused.
“He read the statement back to me and told me to repeat it, that tomorrow (June 24, 2021) I will bring it to the CP office and say that is what happened.
“He left me there, it was around midnight”.
Chidinma also claimed that when officers returned in the morning, they asked him to sign the statement.
On cross-examination by the prosecution, Oluwafemi, she claimed to have signed the statements. She claimed that the second statement was dictated while the first was written.
When asked if she had reported to anyone that she had been slapped and her head banged on the table, she replied, “I didn’t report to anyone because there was no had no one to turn to”.
After Chidinma testified at trial, the judge gave the prosecution and defense 14 days each to file their written addresses in the trial.
Judge Adesanya then adjourned the case until January 11, 2023, for adoption of the final addresses written in the trial.