By Chinyere Omeire
The security guard at the apartment where Mr Usifo Ataga, Super TV Chief Executive Officer, was allegedly murdered, on Tuesday said he was the person who discovered the corpse of the victim.
The security guard, Abubakar Mohammed, said this while testifying before a Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square.
Mohammed gave evidence as the second prosecution witness in the trial of an undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu (first defendant), and two others, for Ataga’s murder.
Ojukwu is facing trial along with her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
At the resumed hearing, the witness narrated to the court how the defendant logged at the apartment where he worked as security man on Sunday June 13.
According to him, his employer, Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, informed him of a client who had contacted her for an apartment.
He said when the defendant showed up, he took her to inspect the place and later gave her the keys to the apartment when his employer gave him the instructions to do so.
Mohammed further narrated how Mr Usifo Ataga (victim) came to the apartment later in the night the same June 13.
The witness said the victim drove in, in a dark coloured Range Rover SUV and was allowed into the premises when the defendant came out of the gate and said “he is my person”.
He also said that the defendant and the victim went out that night and came back at about 11:30p.m.
“The defendant asked me to open the gate so that the victim would park his vehicle inside the premises which I did.
“On Tuesday night by 8p.m., the defendant came out and entered an Uber car and went out. I stayed outside till 12a.m, waiting for her to return but she didn’t, so I went to bed.
“On Wednesday, the vehicle that collects refuse came so I told the cleaner (named Confidence) to bring out all the dustbin from the apartment.
“Confidence came back and told me that the door at the defendant’s apartment was open, I went there, called out the man (victim) but there was no answer.
“I tried to push the door but something was blocking it, I peeped through the narrow opening and saw the victim’s dead body on the floor.
“My employer called me talking about another client whose rent has expired, I then told her about the incident,” the witness narrated.
The witness also narrated how his employer informed the police and how he was taken to the police station to make his statements.
He also told the court that while the defendant was at the apartment, she called him one night with a new number and not the private number she usually called with.
Mohammed said when the body was discovered, he stored that particular number on his phone and checked it on WhatsApp.
The witness said he discovered that the profile picture on that phone was the defendant’s own, he screen shot the picture.
According to him, he changed his own profile picture and sent a WhatsApp message to the defendant, after which the defendant removed her profile picture.
Mohammed said he gave the information to his employer.
He also narrated how the defendant called him with a private number asking him about the victim’s car.
Mohammed said: “Immediately I noticed she was the one calling, I asked why she has not returned since she went out, she answered that she went for a meeting and will be back”.
Mohammed was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mrs Adeyinka Adeyemi, who is the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
However, due to time, the Judge, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, adjourned the case until Wednesday for cross examination.
NAN reports that the three defendants were arraigned on Oct. 12 on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.
Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.
The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of stealing iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
The first and second defendants were alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him severally with a knife on the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at No. 19, Adewale Oshin St., Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The duo were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.