The House of Representatives has asked the police to ensure that Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, does not die in police custody.
Naija News reports that the 300 level University of Lagos (UNILAG) student gave fresh insights into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Ataga on Monday.
During plenary on Tuesday, Hon Tolulope Sadipe raised the motion as a matter of urgent public importance, condemned the public parade and media trial to which Chidinma is being subjected to.
The lawmaker noted that Ojukwu could be driven to depression and eventually suicide, adding that it is unlawful for the police to engage in media trial of the suspect.
She said:“The law of Nigeria does not allow for social media trials and matters that are sub judice (meaning before the court or not yet judicially decided) are not to be discussed by the media.
“Section 36(5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty.
“Thus, so long as Ms. Ojukwu has not been proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, she is not to be labelled a criminal, or paraded about to conduct a series of interviews on a case currently under investigation. Rather, the police are to conduct a proper investigation and allow the court to consider the matter and make an informed judgment.”
The lawmaker argued that the continued parading of the suspect can “affect the determination and outcome of the case, as well as amount to a breach of her fundamental right to fair hearing, especially where she is labelled or treated as one guilty of a crime”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.
Her motion follows a recent interview granted by Chidinma over the death of Ataga.
Contrary to her initial statements that she had stabbed Ataga as a way of self-defense, she now claims she had nothing to do with his death.
She explained that while they were lodged in the short-let apartment, she briefly stepped out to buy some things only to return to his lifeless body.
“As I was leaving the apartment, he stood up to lock the door. When I came back, I knocked but there was no response. Then I opened the door and realized it wasn’t locked,” she said.
“The duvet was on the floor and pillows. The couch was facing the door and the bed was stained with blood and the floor where he was. Music was on, the TV was on. The room was in disarray like someone broke in.
“Then I saw him on the floor, I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid. I thought if I raised an alarm I would be arrested because we were the only people in the room”.