Murder suspect Chindima Ojukwu indicts Lagos police officers

A murder suspect, Chidinma Ojukwu, has accused police interrogators at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Yaba-Lagos, of forcing her to own a witness statement written by them.

Chindima is facing trial over the gruesome murder of her older lover, Usifo Ataga. The deceased’s body was discovered in the hotel room he had shared with Chidinma. The police later recovered Ataga’s mobile phone and laptop stolen by the suspect when she bolted from the crime scene.

But, testifying in her trial on Thursday, Chidinma denied killing Ataga. She alleged that police interrogators slapped and forced her to implicate herself.

Chidinma told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that, after her arrest, police operatives took her to the deputy commissioner of police, who instructed other officers to take her witness statement.

“The DCP said I should make my statement then the IPO, Bamidele, took me to the interrogating room with Mr Chris, and gave me a blank statement form and asked me to write what happened”, she said.

“I started writing, then he (Bamidele) took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote what I said at the DCP’s office. While writing the statement, Bamidele read through it and said it was not what happened.”

Chidinma said she insisted it was what happened, but that angered one of the interrogators, identified as Bamidele.

“I told him it was what happened, I received two slaps from Mr Jemiyo.

“Jemiyo and Chris sat at the back and Bamidele was facing me. He said you are going to write the truth, tore the statement I wrote, and presented another blank statement form. I told him I was writing the truth and you tore it.

“He said if I did not comply, my family, my dad, 10-year-old sister and relative will be charged in the murder case. He (Bamidele) brought out his phone, played the video obtained from the scene of the apartment and showed me pictures of Mr Ataga’s body.

“He said now you are going to write and then I started writing. He said why I am slow and I received another slap on my back. I told him that I was not feeling well and needed to rest. He (Bamidele) said there was no time, he then collected the statement form from me and he started writing. Chris then handcuffed my hands to the chair.”

Chidinma said Bamidele initially asked her questions but later stopped, adding that after he was done writing, he read the statement to her and she said what he wrote was not what happened.

She said, “He said this is what you are going to say or else my family will be charged. He read the statement to me again and told me that I should rehearse it. He said that is what I should tell the CP.

“Bamidele and Chris returned in the morning and said I should sign the statement but as I was reluctant in signing it, Chris said I should because nobody is coming for me and that they will provide me with a good government lawyer.

“After signing the statement, I was brought out of the interrogation room, given water to wash my face, and then we entered a vehicle and drove to Ikeja. When we arrived at Bamidele took me to the CP and I said what Bamidele wrote.

“After I was taken to the press, then we drove back to Panti where Bamidele said we are going to do a video recording, and he said I should say everything he had written in the statement and they recorded the video which was played here in court.

“I was returned to the cell; in the evening on the same June 24, Oseni brought me out of the cell, took me to an office, where Madeyinlo and another female officer Bola were. When Oseni left, I was given a blank statement form and I was told to write another statement.

“Jemiyo also walked in and I said I had already written a statement. I said I am tired and have not eaten. I was just sitting when Jemiyo came beside me and hit my head on a wooden table. This was when officer Bola had left.

“Madeyinlo said I should start writing. I picked the pen, wrote the date, my name, then she (Madeyinlo) started dictating to me and said that I should write what she said. I started writing and at the end of writing the statement, she asked me to sign.”

Her trial continues.

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