The House of Representatives has said that 21-year-old Chidinma Ojukwu, the suspected killer of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, must not die in the custody of the Nigeria Police Force.
They also urged the police to conduct a proper investigation into the matter and refrain from granting interviews.
The House further called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to ensure that there was no violation of human rights and media access to arrested persons in the future.
In addition, the House said the IG must ensure that “Ms. Ojukwu (the accused) does not die in custody or commit suicide while awaiting trial as in some past cases.”
These were the resolutions passed by the lawmakers at the plenary on Tuesday, following their unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Tolu Akande-Sadipe and titled, ‘Call for the Compliance of the Police Force with the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Proper Investigation into the Death of Late Mr. Usifo Ataga.’
Moving the motion on Tuesday, Akande-Sadipe, said, “The House notes that Ms Chidinma Ojukwu, a 300-Level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos was arrested on Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, over the murder of Chief Executive Officer, Super TV, Mr Usifo Ataga, in a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
“The House is aware that since the arrest of Ms Chidinma Ojukwu, she has been paraded around, granting interviews to various news platforms, including the Nigerian Television Authority, on the matter, causing the internet and news media to be agog with the discussion and dissecting the matter. This is despite the fact that the police have already launched an investigation into the matter.
“The House is further aware that the law of Nigeria does not allow for social media trials and matters that are sub judice – meaning before the court or not yet judicially decided – are not to be discussed by the media.”
She added, “The House is cognisant that Section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until they are proven guilty.
“Thus, so long as Ms. Ojukwu has not been proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, she is not to be labelled a criminal or paraded about to conduct a series of interviews on a case currently under investigation. Rather, the police are to conduct a proper investigation and allow the court to consider the matter and make an informed judgment.
“The House is concerned that if Ms. Ojukwu continues to be paraded about for a social media trial, it could affect the determination and outcome of the case as well as amount to a breach of her fundamental right to fair hearing, especially where she is labelled or treated as one guilty of a crime.”
Recall that on June 24, the Lagos State Police Command paraded the suspect where she had admitted to stabbing the 50-year-old in the neck with a knife after a disagreement.
However, in an interview that had now gone viral, the undergraduate contradicted her initial confession, denying her involvement in killing the Super TV CEO.
Ojukwu stated that Ataga had marital problems before his death. She described the deceased as a busy man who was quick to anger.
Chidinma said the man had some problems with his wife and told her he was in his marriage to cater for his children.
“He was actually a busy person but at a point, I found out that he lies a lot just to be able to have sex with young girls.
“He wasn’t having a good marriage either because I noticed he had issues with his wife. They had a marital crisis and he was there only for the kids,” she said.