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Police Ripped Up My Statement, Slapped Me, and Made Me Sign Their Statements—Chidinma Ojukwu

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On Thursday at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of Usifo Ataga, the CEO of Super TV, testified that Nigerian Police Force members had hit her and coerced her into writing a statement.

Chidinma, who served as the first defense witness in her trial-within-a-trial, claimed to Assistant Superintendent of Police Olusegun Bamidele and Olufunke Madeyinlo that she was forced to sign documents against her will by officers.

She claimed that after ripping the statement she had written, Bamidele instructed her to tell the state commissioner of police about the statement he had written.

Chidinma is on trial for allegedly killing Ataga. Along with her sister Chioma Egbuchu and another person named Adedapo Quadri, she is also accused of stealing and forging documents.

Speaking to the court on Thursday, Chidinma said that on June 23, 2021, she was in her room at home when her 10-year-old sister told her that some men were inquiring after her. She was being lead in evidence in the trial-within-a-trial by her attorney, Onwunka Egwu.

The witness stated, “My sister contacted my Dad (her foster father, Onoh Ojukwu) right away, and he came outside and inquired as to who the men were. They claimed to be police officers from Panti’s (SCID), and that they were either coming to search the house and arrest me, or that I should go in and bring Ataga’s phone.

“One of the police officers hit me after I replied I didn’t know where the phone or car were. The cops tried to enter the room from the passage, but my father yelled at them, saying they couldn’t hit my daughter in my home.

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“Chidnma said that before the policemen took her away, she instructed her foster father to contact the family lawyer, Egwu. She continued by saying that when they arrived at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, she was taken to a policeman’s office where he and other officers questioned her.

We returned to my place before going back to the DCP’s office, where he began grilling her, she stated. I informed him that I had no knowledge of Mr. Ataga’s passing, at which point they produced the footage that was shown in court.

The IPO, Bamidele, escorted me to the interrogation room with Mr. Chris and gave me a blank statement form, instructing me to write what transpired. The DCP had instructed me to make my statement.

“I began to write, but Bamidele (the actor) grabbed it and chained it to the chair. What I said in the DCP’s office is what I wrote. Bamidele read the statement after it had been written and declared that it was false.

According to Chidinma, she told Bamidele she was making a statement about what happened and asked him to help her find out if her foster father had contacted the family attorney before she started writing.

He (Bamidele) indicated that because he was in custody, my (foster) dad couldn’t make a call, the woman said. I began drafting the statement at that point. Mr. Jemiyo gave me two slaps when I rebutted his claim that the statement I submitted did not accurately reflect what transpired.

Bamidele was facing me, and Jemiyo and Chris were seated in the rear. He tore the statement I had filled out, commanded me to write the truth, then handed me another blank statement form. I informed him that I had written the truth, but you tore it.

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He threatened to charge my family, including my father, sister, 10, and a relative in the murder case if I didn’t comply. Bamidele pulled out his phone, played the footage shot inside the flat, and then showed me images of Mr. Ataga’s corpse.

“He said you’re going to write now, so I got to work.” He asked me why I was moving so slowly, and I got another slap on the back. I explained to him that I needed to rest because I wasn’t feeling well. After telling me there wasn’t enough time, Bamidele took the statement form from me and began to write. My hands were then restrained to the chair by Chris.

Chidinma claimed that Bamidele initially questioned her but eventually stopped, and that when he read the statement to her after finishing it, she remarked that what he had written was incorrect.

“He said you are going to say this or else my family would be charged,” she said. He repeated reading the statement to me and instructed me to practice it. He advised me to tell the CP that.

Chris urged me to sign the statement despite my reluctance, explaining that nobody is coming for me and that they will supply me with a competent government attorney. Bamidele and Chris returned the following morning.

I was led from the interrogation room after signing the statement, given water to wash my face, and then we got in a car and went to Ikeja. Bamidele led me to the CP when we got there, and I told them what Bamidele had written.

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She claimed that after being questioned in the CP’s office, she was led downstairs where she noticed numerous people (journalists) with cameras. She also stated that she did not feel good at the time.

After I was taken to the press, we drove back to Panti, where Bamidele announced that we would be doing a video recording. He instructed me to say everything he had written in the statement, and they recorded the video, which was played here in court, according to Chidinma.

“I was sent back to my cell, and that same evening, on June 24, Oseni took me out and led me to an office where Madeyinlo and another female officer, Bola, were waiting. I was given a blank statement form after Oseni left, and instructed to write another statement on it.

When Jemiyo entered the room, I informed him that I had already written a statement. I admitted that I was hungry but also exhausted. Jemiyo walked over to where I was seated and knocked me over with a wooden table. When officer Bola left, this was the time.

Madeyinlo advised me to begin writing. I picked up the pen, wrote the time and my name, and then Madeyinlo began speaking to me while telling me to write what she said. She asked me to sign the statement when I had finished writing it.

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