Barristers & Solicitors
There were 7 stab wounds on Ataga’s neck – Cofounder, Super Network

A witness who co-founded Super Network ltd with late Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, has told the judge hearing the murder trial at the Lagos State High COurt, TBS Annex that there were a total of seven multiple stabs on The deceased’s neck. Raman Obiorah Saliu, is the fifth prosecution witness in the case in which a 21-year old undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu, is a main suspect.According to the witness, who broke down in tears while testifying before Justice Yetunde Adesanya, apart from the seven multiple stabs on mr Ataga’s neck, there was one to the stomach, there were also stabs on both sides of Mr Ataga’s ribs, the left vendicular to the chest.Mr Saliu who was led in evidence in chief by the deputy director of public prosecution at the Lagos ministry of Justice, Adenike Oluwafemi, stated that the deceased was tied up, on both hands and legs like a ram waiting to be slaughtered.Mr Saliu, who’s a network engineer, programmer and a developer, told the court that he met the late Michael Usifo Ataga, 10 years ago, in the course of building the Super Tv App.He added that the deceased came into the project as an investor, and having loved the idea of the project, he became a co-founder.He said that he got a call from Mr Ataga on Monday 14, June 2021, that he was having a stomach pain, and he then told him to go and take his drugs, which he uses to manage high blood pressure.The witness added that he tried calling him again the next day but didn’t get a response.” Then I got a WhatsApp message from him, after reading the message, I said to myself this is not Michael, talking to me. The message read ” I saw your missed call, I took some drugs that can made me sleeping, the construction of that message was not Michael, because Michael was very fluent in English.” I knew that was not Micheal’s typing but someone else. Then, I sent him a screenshot of the billing system in the Super Tv App, that it’s now working and his response to me was, ok, great, that was when I knew something was happening because Michael will jump up, pick up his phone and call me immediately, so I went outside to take fresh air and I started thinking where he could have been now that he is not picking my calls.” I called Gambo, he is a driver and personal assistant (PA), to Michael I asked him, did you receive any call from Micheal, he said no, that he has also been calling him too because he needed to pick up his clothes from the laundry that he is traveling with to Abuja.” Gambo said he got a WhatsApp message, that was between 5 to 6pm, on June 15, 2021, then we started thinking of what could have happened to him, then his (Micheal’s)friend Okwuedo, who lives with us at Victoria Garden City (VGC), asked where is Usifo, I told him I got a WhatsApp message from Michael so Okwuedo said let him see the message, immediately he saw it, he said this is not Michael’s typing.” Okwuedo and Gambo, went to few places where they thought he could be, so I went back to the office and on Wednesday 16, June 2021, I asked Gambo if they found him, he said no, so I now called his cook at Banana Island, that was when I knew that he left home since Sunday 13, June, 2021.” I was keeping calm because he was going to Abuja on Thursday for his 50th birthday, wherever he was, I knew that he would come and meet me and we would go to the airport, stay with the girls (Michael’s daughters) and his wife for his 50th birthday. They were actually waiting for him, they were planning a surprised birthday party for him.” So, I started suspecting something was wrong because he was supposed to come to VGC on the 15th, so I had to raise alarm that I don’t know where Michael was.” My last WhatsApp message to Michael on June 16, 2021, was at 10:30am and the message reads ” Bro where are you, I am worried my BP is rising.” The message was read, no response, I started getting calls from his family wanting to wish him happy 50th birthday.” Calls started coming in, I did not really know what to say, how can I say I’m looking for a 50 year old man, to me it didn’t make any sense. I wanted to go and make a complaint at the VGC police station of a missing person, when at about 6:33 to 6:35,am on Thursday 17 June 2021, I got a call from Mrs Brenda Ataga, who happens to be his wife and the wife said where is Usifo?.” I had to tell her the truth that I have been looking for Michael since on Tuesday, so she was a bit upset with me that I was looking for someone since on Tuesday and I did nothing about it, I tried to explain to her that I was trying to make a complaint, 10minutes later she called back and said Michael’s phones was traced to the University of Lagos Unilag guest house.” I didn’t take my bath, I just grabbed my car key and I started driving to Unilag, a friend called me and I told him I was driving to Unilag, he said he said how did I know that he was in Unilag, I said Brenda called me and said they traced the phone to Unilag.” Mrs Brenda Ataga, also called me and said there is a team of police men that I will meet at Unilag, to conduct the search. I got to Unilag, before them so I went to the security and told them I was looking for a black Range Rover, so they directed me to the guest house.” The police joined me with two of his friends and a staff from my office. Mrs Ataga called me and was giving me the GPS coordinate from where the direction of the phone is. While going through Yaba, I got a call from our GTB bank account officer, whom I asked to help me trace Michael’s transactions, so that I can know where exactly he is.” While we were on the field I got a calk from him that Michael made transaction on Sunday and Monday and that the transaction was to a lady Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the service apartment, (Where the deceased was murdered).” The account officer also said that the transaction that was made on Monday was to a Sterling Bank with the name Chidinma Ojukwu Adora. The account officer asked me what’s happening, I said today is his birthday and I have been looking for him since Tuesday.” Only for Brenda to call and told me that Michael is dead. I fainted, it took the Police to restutciuate me, when I was a bit ok, I called her and asked how, she is in Abuja and we are in Lagos, so she said she called the number I sent to her and the owner of the apartment told her somebody was murdered that she should show his means of Identification if it was the person we were looking for.” So Brenda shared her husband’s picture to the woman and the owner of the service apartment said this person was murdered here and she is on her way to the police station at Maroko, so Brenda asked me to meet Mrs Nkechi Mogbo, at Panti. So I.met her with some Michael’s friends at Panti, so we went to the scene of incident at Lekki, where Michael was murdered”, he said.Saliu said” I didn’t want to believe that Michael was dead, I saw Michael’s belongings that the police brought out we were not allowed inside.” When I got to the mortuary, I saw Michael’s body, Michael was killed like a chicken, I saw a very big cut at the back of his neck. the wickedness for me is that the day I was with Michael’s corpse, they were still taking money from his account, that was 17 June 2021, exactly the day he was 50 years old.” There were subsequent USSD transactions on his account until Brenda and I decided to close the account. I started tracking Chidinma, I started looking at Michael’s calls from 9mobile and MTN, Chidinma was calling him with a WhatsApp number.“I traced the money that was transfered by Michael to Chidinma’s Sterling bank and I supplied all the information to the Police at Panti. Around 1am, on June 23, 2021, on a Wednesday I got a message from Panti, that Chidinma has been arrested.” Michael’s iPhone came with an original Apple pouch, when the police recovered the iPhone from Chidinma, it was replaced with a N1000, pouch, Michael’s laptop was also recovered. There were two iPhones, one iPhone 11 and iPhone 7 or 8, was also recovered, I was told by the police that she gave the other iPhone to her sister.The witness further stated that there is a restaurant at Lekki, Angle Villa Restaurant that the deceased made a transaction on June 13, “I shared the information with Michael’s friends and they proceeded to Angie Villa, to confirm if a transaction was actually made .” They confirmed that Michael came so we requested for CCTV footage to know if he went alone, but we discovered that he came with Chidinma, the police at Panti took the video and I was suprised to see the CCTV footage all over the social media,” Saliu said.During cross examination by the counsel to Chidinma, Onwuka Egwu, the witness said he had no idea, of who handed the CCTV footage Video to the Police.He said that the CCTV footage was trending prior to the arrest of Chidinma.The case was adjourned to February 17.The 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, is facing trial alongside one Adedapo Quadri, for the murder, while her sister, Chioma Egbuchu is also being tried for being in possession of the deceased’s stolen phone.

Culled from TVC