Ataga: How policemen slapped, forced me to sign statements – Chidinma
Chidinma Ojukwu, who is facing murder charges over the death of Super TV chief executive officer Usifo Ataga, on Thursday told a Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square that the statement she wrote at the police station was torn.
Ms Ojukwu said this while giving evidence at the trial within trial to ascertain whether the statement she made was voluntarily made or coaxed.
Ojukwu said that the two statements she wrote were torn and she was forced to sign the one written by ASP Olusegun Bamidele.
She said that she was also forced to sign the one dictated to her by officer Olufunke Madeyinlo.
She said, “The DCP said I should make my statement. IPO Bamidele, therefore, took me to the interrogation room with Mr Chris, gave me a blank statement form and asked me to write what happened.
“I started writing, Bamidele took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote what I narrated at the DCP’s office.
“While I was writing, Bamidele took the statement from me, read it and said it was not what happened.
“I told him, sir, what I am writing is what happened. I also told him that I asked my father to call my lawyer, he said my Dad cannot make a call that he was in custody with them. I then started writing the statement.
“When he took the statement from me and said this is not what happened. I told him, ‘Sir, this is what happened.’ I received two slaps from the back from Mr Jemiyo.
“Jemiyo and Chris were sitting behind me, the only person facing me was Bamidele. He said, “you are going to write the truth.”
“He tore all the statements I had written and presented another blank statement form. I told him, ‘Sir, I was writing the truth, you tore it.’
“He said if I do not comply my family, my dad, 10-year-old sister and my relatives will be charged with this murder case.”
The defendant narrated how officer Bamidele, brought out his phone, played the video of the scene at the apartment and showed pictures of Mr Ataga’s body.
Ojukwu said that the officer then asked her to write, while she was writing, the officer slapped her and said she was slow.
The defendant said she told the officer that she was not feeling well.
She said that the officer took the statement form from her and wrote the statement for her and handcuffed her hands to the chair.
She said that when the statement was read to her, she told the officer that it was not what happened but the officer said, “This is what you are going to say or else your family will be charged.
“He read the statement to me again and told me to rehearse it, that tomorrow (June 24, 2021), I will take it to the CP’s office and say that’s what happened. He left me there, it was around midnight.”
She said the officers came back in the morning and asked her to sign the statement.
Justice Adesanya adjourned the case until January 11, 2023, for the adoption of final written addresses in the trial within trial.