By Chinyere Omeire
A prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, on Monday told a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, that Chidinma Ojukwu charged with murder of Mr Usifo Ataga, was tracked through her phone.
Bamidele is the ninth prosecution witness in the trial of Ojukwu for murder of Ataga, Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.
Ojukwu is charged with murder, stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
They all pleaded not guilty.
Bamidele said that the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID) Yaba, tracked Ojukwu down at No. 57, Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji, Yaba.
Bamidele, who serves at the Homicide Section of the SCID, gave evidence at the resumed trial of Ojukwu.
He was led in evidence by Lagos State Director for Public Prosecutions, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi.
He narrated how the case was allegedly transferred from Maroko Police Station to his department at the SCID.
He said that the case was transferred and assigned to his team on June 17, 2021, with a a suspect, one Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment where the alleged murder occurred.
The witness said that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) from Maroko Police Station told him how a complaint about a body with a mark of violence was brought to the station.
Bamidele said that the IPO also informed him that he took pictures and made video recordings which were transferred into his Infinix Hot 4.
The witness testified that after receiving the complaint from the IPO, he visited the scene of alleged crime alongside the IPO and Mogbo.
“We met the security guard who took us into the apartment, and I observed that there were blood stains on the floor, the bed was ruffled with blood stains on the pillow and 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 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 who 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 told him how the body of the deceased was discovered at the apartment where the said Jewel lodged with the deceased.
Bamidele also said that the security guard at the apartment gave him a phone number which the said Jewel 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 No. 57, Akinwunmi St., 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.
At this point, prosecution counsel prayed for an adjournment to enable the prosecution to bring the video for viewing and to tender it in evidence.
Earlier, an Access Bank account officer to the deceased, Mr Toafeek Lawal, gave evidence as the eighth prosecution 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, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
He said that immediately the bank learnt of the death of Ataga, it placed a Post No Debit on the account to stop any debit from being effected on the account.
He said that money was transferred from Ataga’s account on June 16, and the transaction were done through USSD platform to his other account.
Lawal also said that, on June 17, money was transferred to Ataga’s account but on June 18, money was transferred from Ataga’s 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 Ojukwu’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu.
Egwu asked the witness to confirm that in a USSD mode of transfer, the password would be 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.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until May 10 for continuation of trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three defendants were arraigned on Oct. 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge brought 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 was also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased. (NAN)