The murder trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged suspect in the case involving Usifo Ataga, CEO of Super TV, faced a setback on Tuesday as her absence in court halted the proceedings. Charged with murder, theft, and forgery, Ojukwu, along with her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and Adedapo Quadri, were to appear at the Lagos High Court, but only Egbuchu was present.
The absence of Ojukwu and Quadri was due to the ongoing strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress, preventing their transportation from the correctional facility. Justice Yetunde Adesanya acknowledged the security concerns presented by correctional facility officials and postponed the trial due to the strike.
Responding to the situation, the defendants’ counsels requested a fresh date for the trial. They expressed dissatisfaction with the sluggish pace of the trial despite the court’s efforts and urged for a clearer schedule to ensure proper handling of the case.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mrs. Adenike Oluwafemi, informed the court that besides the ongoing testimony of the ninth prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, there were two additional witnesses yet to provide evidence.
To avoid trial disruptions during the NLC strike, the judge vacated the trial date set for the next day and rescheduled the trial for December 5 and December 7. DSP Bamidele, the ninth prosecution witness, previously testified about examining Ataga’s body at the mortuary during the last session in June.
He detailed observing body and neck injuries, mentioning injuries to the left ribs and a stab wound on the head. He clarified aspects of his report, indicating that the examination of the spiked drink and bottle fell under the DNA personnel’s responsibility.
Bamidele also mentioned examining knives found at the crime scene and the fingerprint analysis carried out by the Force Criminal Investigation Department on those knives. The defense requested an adjournment to continue the cross-examination, leading to the trial’s postponement.
Chidinma Ojukwu and the co-defendants were arraigned by the Lagos State Government on October 12, 2021. Ojukwu and Quadri face counts of conspiracy, murder, and stabbing, while Egbuchu faces charges related to the alleged theft of Ataga’s iPhone 7.