Cleaner discovered Ataga’s corpse, we picked items for probe– Police

A police officer, Ibrahim Isiaka, on Thursday, narrated to the Lagos State High Court at the Tafawa Balewa Square how the police found the late Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, in a pool of blood at a service apartment in the Lekki area of the state.

Ataga was allegedly killed by a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, Chidinma Ojukwu.

The undergraduate and two others, Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu, are standing trial on nine counts before Justice Yetunde Adesanya.

While Ojukwu and Quadri are facing eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, forgery and stealing, Egbuchu was charged with stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the Investigating Police Officer of the case, Isiaka, told the court that he was on night duty on June 16, 2021, when the owner of the service apartment, Nkechi Mogbo, reported a case of murder at the Maroko Police Station.

Isiaka, while being led in evidence by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi, said following the report, the divisional police officer and the divisional crime officer went to the scene where the deceased was found in a pool of blood and his corpse deposited at the Yaba General Hospital’s morgue.

He said, “Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, in her statement to the police, said her security guard, one Abu, informed her that some people lodged at her facility at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, and when the cleaner went to clean the apartment, they discovered a dead body. She said the security guard and the cleaner, after calling occupants of the apartment and there was no response, forced the door open and discovered that a man was lying down in a pool of blood.

“Based on the nature of the case, on June 17, 2021, the DPO said the case should be immediately transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti. After the case file was transferred to Panti, a team of detectives from the homicide section of Panti asked me to follow them to the scene of the crime and when we got there, the apartment door was opened and we discovered that things were scattered in the apartment.

“The team, headed by a Chief Superintendent of Police from Panti, found some items from the travelling bag of the deceased at the apartment and picked them for investigation.

“At the morgue, the corpse was brought out in a stretcher. I discovered that there was blood on his back; the deceased was lying down facing up, that was when he was identified as Michael Ataga.”

Following the evidence of the IPO, Oluwafemi sought to tender the statement he (IPO) made at Panti before the court, but Egbuchu’s counsel, Babatunde Busari, objected to it on the grounds that it was an extrajudicial statement and therefore not admissible.

The other defence lawyers, Onwuka Egwu and O. A. Ogunsanya, did not object to the tendering of the statement.

Justice Adesanya, in a short ruling, said the objection failed and overruled it.

The case was adjourned till February 21 for continuation of trial.

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