The family of the Chief Executive Officer, Super TV, Usifo Ataga, who was allegedly murdered by a 21-year-old undergraduate of the University of Lagos, Chidinma Ojukwu, has urged anyone with useful information about his death to approach the police and share such with them.
Chidinma and Usifo reportedly lodged in a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State and the corpse of the latter was discovered in the room the next day after the lady had fled.
The police thereafter went after her and tracked her down to her father’s Alagomeji, Yaba, residence.
Upon her arrest, Chidinma attributed her action to the influence of hard drugs and alcohol.
The family said in a statement by the deceased’s brother, Isi, that Chindima’s story did not add up and urged anyone with information on the incident to approach the police instead of hiding behind online posts.
Isi also urged members of the public to stop spreading false information and let the family grieve in private.
He said, “A little over a week ago, unknown persons savagely killed our beloved son, Usifo Ataga. With no regard for him, or his family, who love him; they viciously ended his life. His children will grow up to read unkind and thoughtless words from thousands of people, who have joined the lynching party in the press and the blogosphere. Our ageing parents must now struggle to pick up the pieces amid a cacophony of misinformation propagated by strangers.
“A suspect has been arrested and paraded before the press. We, the Ataga family, are grateful to the Nigeria Police for pursuing this investigation. However, like you, we have many unanswered questions. Some things don’t add up.
“If you have any information, don’t hide behind online posts. Instead, come forward and share it with the police. Here’s what we do know. The more you add to the false information in the press and on social media, the harder it is for the police to do their work and fully solve this case. The harder it is for a grieving family to recover from the loss of their beloved son.
“We ask sincerely that you let us grieve this terrible loss with some privacy. This past week and a half has been the worst period of our lives.”
Similarly, the wife of the deceased, through her lawyer, also urged members of the public making false publications on the incident to desist or face lawsuits.
A statement by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olusegun Jolaawo, on behalf of the family’s solicitor, Rickey Tarfa & Co, urged the police to conduct an in-depth investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.
The statement read in part, “We know that a suspect has been arrested and we know that investigation is continuing. Our client is, however, convinced that there is much more to this than is already apparent from the police investigation.
“It has become apparent that from the variety and inherent malice in most of the media publications, they are planted to embarrass and malign Usifo Ataga, Brenda Ataga and the family. The publications serve as a smokescreen to enable the perpetrators of this heinous crime to cover their tracks.
“Our client appreciates the efforts of the law enforcement agencies in their investigations thus far and will not descend into particulars with respect to any of the said false narratives so as not to inadvertently aid the perpetrators of the murder in covering their tracks.
“Our client requests that the well-meaning public allows the family to mourn their departed son, father and husband with some privacy and decency. Our client also feels very strongly about the unbridled activities of bloggers on the social media space with respect to this incident and firmly demands that the said bloggers desist from peddling falsehood aimed at maligning the deceased, his wife and children.
“The family will not be intimidated by these bloggers’ activities and insist that the police be allowed to do their work. Our client hereby demands that the false publications and the several ordinarily unrelated stories and pictures of the late Usifo and Brenda Ataga be pulled down with immediate effect.
“Failing, our client shall take prompt and appropriate action to seek redress for the apparent instances of libel and slander as appropriate.”