Oluwole Josiah-Uanzekin

The family of Late Michael Usifo Ataga who was brutally murdered on the 15th of June, 2021, somewhere in Lekki, Lagos, has briefed fiery Constitutional Lawyer and renowned Human Rights Activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to protect and defend the interests of the family and to ensure that justice is duly served in the matter.

The Ataga family, in its instruction letter to Chief Ozekhome, decried the low level of professionalism exhibited so far by the Police in bringing to book and prosecuting professionally, the alleged perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Chidima and the late Ataga

Only few days ago, the family of late Ataga had accused the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, of being complicit in an alleged attempt to protect the killers of Mr Ataga. 

The family said that they were shocked that the prosecution of the 21-year old prime suspect in Ataga’s murder, one Chidinma Ojukwu of the Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, was arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court, Yaba, without even being informed about the arraignment. 

The family had also revealed that one Babalola Disu, who was arraigned for allegedly preventing the Police from performing their duties and failing to report a crime to the Police, is “highly suspected to have carried out the murder.”

The family premised its suspicion on information they received to the effect that Disu’s short rental apartment was directly opposite the apartment where Ataga was killed. 
The family also narrated how the said Disu had asked that the carpenter of Air BnB should be called upon to fix his door, only for the carpenter to be told later that it was actually Usifo’s door that was broken. 

The family had also accused the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Odumosu, of being complicit in bungling the case of Ataga’s murder through his lack of depth, thoroughness, and professionalism in his investigation of Ataga’s brutal murder. 

It will be recalled that Chidinma Okukwu, a 21-year old Mass Communications student of the University of Lagos, was arrested by the Police on June 23, 2021, for the alleged murder of Super TV owner, 50-year old Usifo Ataga, with whom she had a romantic relationship. 

Mr Ataga had been found dead on June 15, 2021, with ghastly, multiple stab wounds all over his body, at the said short rental apartment on Adebowale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, which Chidinma had personally booked. 

The ghastly wounds showed evidence of sustained torture. Chidinma had confessed in her first public outing to stabbing him severally with a knife under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and withdrawing the sum of N380,000 from the victim’s account with his ATM card. 
She was later to backtrack on this confession in a carefully arranged  televised interview, where she claimed she had allegedly acted in self-defence. 

The late Ataga was later buried on July 30, 2021, at a solemn low-key ceremony at the Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi, Lagos, after a funeral service at the Lady Perpetua Help Catholic church in Victoria Island, Lagos. 
The Ataga family had also decried the alleged comfortable movement to prison from court and from court back to the prison, of Chidinma in an Uber ride.The family queried why this was done without even handcuffs and without being informed of the intending arraignment.

 The family also alleged that the man who had claimed to be Chidinma’s father and who was also charged to the Magistrate’s  court for obstructing Police investigation, was actually not Chidinma’s biological father after all, but her “sugar daddy”.

The family postulated that this means that the Police had deliberately lied to it. 

The family made it clear it suspects the said Disu for having a hand in Ataga’s murder and wondered why he was charged for mere obstruction of Police investigation and failure to report a crime, thus being granted bail in the ridiculous term of 1 million naira only and 2 sureties in like sum. To all other suspects involved in this dastardly act ( except Chidinma who was ordered remanded ) , bail was granted by Chief Magistrate Adeola Adedayo, in the funny conditions of 1 million naira each with two sureties in like sum. 

The family said it could understand “these over liberal bail terms in such a heinous crime of hideous and horrific murder.”

The family said it viewed these acts by the Police as a slap on their face, the face of justice and a deliberate cover-up by the Police.

 The family has therefore briefed Ozekhome and his Chambers, to take up this case with all relevant authorities, to ensure that justice was manifestly done to the memory of late Usifo through a very professional prosecution of all those involved in the crime, no matter how highly placed they may be.

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