The family of Michael Ataga has briefed fiery constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to protect and defend the interests of the Ataga family to ensure that justice is duly served in the matter.
The Ataga family in its instruction letter to Mr Ozekhome, decried the low level of professionalism exhibited so far by the Police in bringing to book and prosecuting professionally, the perpetrators of this heinous crime that led to Ataga’s unprovoked and cold blooded murder.
The late Ataga was murdered on 15th June, in the Lekki area of Nigeria’s southwestern Lagos state.
The family in a statement also accused the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, “of being complicit in an alleged attempt to protect the killers of 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 Communicarion Department, University of Lagos, was arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court, Yaba, without even being informed about the arraignment coming up.”
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 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.”
The statement reads in part, “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, for the alleged murder of Super TV owner, 50-year old Usifo, with whom she had a romantic relationship.
“Usifo had been found dead with multiple stab wounds at the said short rental apartment in Lekki, Lagos, which Chidinma had personallly booked. The ghastly wounds showed evidence of sustained torture.
“Chidinma had voluntarily confessed in her first public outing to stabbing Usifo 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.
“Usifo 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 Usifo 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. They family said it could understand these over liberal bail terms in such a heinous crime of hideous and horrific murder.
“The family views 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 is manifestly done to the memory of late Usifo through a very professional prosecution of all those involved in this heinous crime, no matter how highly placed they may be.”