The Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) has watched the chilling footage of Chidinma Ojukwu confessing to stabbing to death the Chief Executive Officer of Super Tv, Usifo Michael Ataga, alone.
It also viewed the grim footage of Ataga’s lifeless body recorded shortly after he was found in a Lagos short-let apartment serviced apartment.
Recall that Ojukwu, a 300-level, Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), is the prime suspect in Ataga’s murder.
She is standing trial for the alleged offence alongside her sister and third defendant Chioma Egbuchu, and second defendant Adedapo Quadri.
They have been on trial since October 12, 2021, when they were arraigned at the high court before Justice Yetunde Adesanya.
According to the Lagos State Government, which is prosecuting them, the alleged murder took place on June 15, 2021, at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
At the resumption of proceedings, the prosecution played the video recording from a Compact Disc (CD) on a large screen in the courtroom.
It showed Ataga lying on the floor facing up with his hands spread open wearing a white singlet and boxers stained with blood. His head was close to the wall and there was blood on the floor on his right-hand side.
There were also large blood stains on the floor and the pillow and duvet cover.
The video also showed Ojukwu narrating how she killed Ataga during interrogation by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Olusegun Bamidele from the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti, Yaba.
The defendant said she met Ataga through a friend and they started speaking to each other and that on June 13, 2021, he asked her to look for a place for them to stay, so she got the short-let apartment where they ate, drank, took drugs and where he was killed.
Ojukwu said: “After I got to the place on Sunday, we were smoking loudly, drinking, watching movies and then I went to get food.
“The drug we were taking got finished and I ordered another one and went downstairs to get it from the delivery guy in the morning; that was on June 14, 2021.
“Then on Tuesday, we drank and smoked loud and I added Rophynol to his drink and we had sex. I was on the bed and he was on the chair.
“Then later he started disturbing me for more sex. I was tired and after struggling with him, he had his way and still wanted more.
“He wanted it, he was no longer himself and I thought he was no more interested in sex, only for him to return to the bed to ask for more sex.
“I pushed him away, which resulted in him hitting his head against a stool that had a glass. He had a cut on his leg and he became weak.
“I got a knife and stabbed him in the neck, ribs and stomach so that he would not be able to harm me. I tied his hands with a handkerchief.
“His blood was out and I was scared. I just packed everything, my clothes were also stained with blood, I just packed my things and left.
“I took the knife and handkerchief and when I got home, I threw the knife and handkerchief away.
“Michael (Ataga) was a friend that we just talked to. I didn’t know him that deeply and we did not talk regularly.”
When she was asked in the video if she was assisted in killing the deceased as she couldn’t have done it alone because of his physique, Ojukwu said: “There was nobody that assisted me, I did it alone.
Asked why she didn’t call for help, she said: “Obviously I was scared that was why I left.”
Asked what was the motive behind her killing Ataga, she said: “There was no motive behind it.”
DSP Bamidele, who is the ninth prosecution witness, also asked Ojukwu why she was using a foreign number and why she hid her number.
The defendant responded that she already had a foreign number registered on social media that she used to chat with people.
Asked why the owner of the service apartment didn’t know her identity, she replied: “She didn’t ask for my identification.
“It was a text that I got. If she had said that the place was not available I would have left for another place.”
On why she used a fake name “Mary Johnson” in opening a bank account, the defendant said she tried her real name but the account was blocked hence her decision to use Mary Johnson.
During examination in chief by prosecution counsel Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, Bamidele said the police recovered some items from the defendant’s house, including a small pink purse containing two syringes, eight pieces of Rophynol tablets, two sanitary pads, a small perfume, jewellery an iPhone, a notebook, a diary and an HP laptop.
Other items were the defendant’s ID card with her name Ojukwu Chidinma Adora, Ataga’s driving licence, Ojukwu’s UBA ATM card, Super net ID card with Ataga’s name, then three other cards that had the deceased’s name and six blank complimentary cards, among others.
In a short ruling, Justice Adesanya dismissed the defendant’s objection and admitted the items in evidence.
Earlier, the witness showed the court pictures of the apartment.
The three defendants were arraigned on October 12, 2021 on nine counts preferred against them by the 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 an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
The case was adjourned till October 12, for the continuation of trial.