A witness in the ongoing trial of undergraduate Chidinma Ojukwu, the prime suspect in the murder of Super TV boss, Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, has described how his body was discovered five days later in the mortuary on his birthday by family and friends.
Rotimi Albert made the revelation today, November 30, while testifying as the fourth prosecution witness before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos High Court, who was sitting in the annex of the Tafawa Balewa Square.
Robert, who introduced himself to the late Mr. Ataga as a long-time classmate and family friend, said a mutual friend called him on the evening of June 16th, asking if he had seen or heard from the deceased, as no one had heard from him since Sunday (June 13th). On June 17, the deceased’s birthday, the witness attempted to contact him by phone, but he was unavailable.
“I was surprised when he didn’t return my calls nor reply my messages. I started calling other friends to ask if anyone had seen him, even his siblings abroad called me to ask about Ataga’s whereabout. I told them I was also worried.
His wife and family were also looking for him because they were supposed to celebrate his birthday with him in Abuja,” he said.
The deceased’s wife then informed the police of their concerns, according to the witness. According to him, the deceased’s phone was tracked, and it was discovered that it was last used at the University of Lagos guest house.
According to him, he and a mutual friend went there on June 17th but were unable to locate Mr Ataga’s vehicle at the guest house. He went on to say that a phone tracker revealed that the phone was used in the Alagomeji area, and that tracking the phone became difficult due to the constant movement.
“In the course of all these, we got a call that Usifo is deceased and in the mortuary. We, therefore, went to Panti police station, there we found out that the police had already visited the crime scene.
After going to the crime scene, the police told us to go to the mortuary to identify the body so we went and confirmed it was Usifo Ataga. At the mortuary, I observed that he was assaulted with multiple stab wounds on his neck, abdomen, his side and leg.
I also observed that his wrist had rope marks and deep indentations. That was how I got to know that my friend was deceased” witness said
The case has been adjourned until February 14, 2022, by the presiding judge, Justice Adesanya.