Usifo Ataga: Witness’ Absence Stalls Trial Of Chidinma, Others
Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square was yesterday forced to adjourn the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, standing trial for the murder of the chief executive officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, due to the absence of a prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele.
Chidinma was arraigned before the court alongside one Adedapo Quadri on an eight-counts bordering on the offences of murder, forgery and stealing.
The state also arraigned Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu, from whom the late Ataga’s iPhone 7, was said to have been recovered on one count of receiving stolen property.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
When the matter was called for hearing yesterday, the Lagos State deputy director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP), Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, told the court that the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Bamidele, who was yet to conclude his evidence was absent in court.
Oluwafemi also told the judge that the witness sent a text message, informing her that he was under the rain all morning, drenched and unable to find transportation to the court.
She apologised for the witness’ absence.
The defence lawyers, Onwuka Egwu, Babatunde Busari and Miss M. A. Abia-Bassey, said that the prosecutor had earlier informed them of the development.
They did not object to the request for an adjourned.
Following the development, Justice Adesanya adjourned further hearing in the trial till October, 27.
At the last sitting of the court on October, 20, the matter did not go as the first defendant’s counsel sent a message that he lost a relative and was already in Anambra State at the time the case was called.
The third defendant Quadri was also not produced in court.
He called his lawyer Babatunde Busari to inform him that there was a directive from the Correctional Facility that he should not be brought to court over security reasons, due to the second anniversary of ‘#EndSARS protest.