The trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, a 300-level Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos and the alleged murder suspect of Super TV CEO Usifo Ataga, faced a setback on Tuesday. The defendant was absent, and the proceedings at the Lagos State High Court in Tafawa Balewa Square could not proceed.…CONTINUE READING
Chidinma Ojukwu is facing nine counts of murder, theft, and forgery, along with her sister Chioma Egbuchu and Adedapo Quadri. During the latest trial session, only Chioma Egbuchu, the third defendant, was present. Ojukwu and Quadri were not brought to court from the correctional facility.
The reason for their non-appearance was attributed to the ongoing industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, which affected the transportation of inmates to court. Justice Yetunde Adesanya conveyed that correctional facility officials had informed the court about the unavailability of inmates due to security concerns during the strike.
In response to the situation, Mr. Onwuka Egwu, counsel for the first defendant, proposed vacating the scheduled date due to the NLC strike and requested a new, clear date for the proceedings.
Mr. Babatunde Busari, counsel for the second defendant, expressed concern about the prolonged duration of the trial despite the court’s efforts. He emphasized the need for a specified date to expedite the proceedings and ensure substantive justice.
Furthermore, he requested information from the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Adenike Oluwafemi, regarding the number of remaining prosecution witnesses yet to testify. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Oluwafemi, informed the court that, aside from the ongoing cross-examination of the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, there were two additional witnesses.
In response to the potential disruption caused by the NLC strike, Justice Adesanya decided to vacate the scheduled date for Wednesday. The case was adjourned until December 5 and December 7, 2023, for the continuation of the trial. The ninth prosecution witness, DSP Bamidele, had previously detailed his examination of the late Ataga’s body during the last proceeding in June.
Egwu, counsel for the first defendant, cross-examined the witness during the court proceedings. The witness had previously informed the court that he conducted an investigation at the mortuary two days after the deceased’s passing.
Bamidele recounted that, in his presence, the body bag was opened for observation. He testified that he observed injuries on the body and neck area of the deceased. According to his account, he directed the mortuary attendant to turn the body, revealing marks on the left ribs.
Additionally, the witness informed the court of an injury at the lower center of the head, describing it as an open wound indicative of a stabbing. Ojukwu and the other two individuals were charged by the Lagos State Government on October 12, 2021.
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