The murder of Usifo Ataga, the CEO of Super TV, on June 15 has been trending. The family has been distressed by the rumours being peddled. Beneath their grief are many unanswered questions.
Since the murder last week of Usifo Ataga, the 50-year-old CEO of Super TV, allegedly by his 21-year-old lover, Chidinma Ojuwku, there have been dozens of news reports making all sorts of claims.
- How Kaduna-Abuja train passengers got stranded in ‘bush’
- Tension in Lagos as Igboho insists on July 3 ‘Yoruba Nation’ rally
Social media has been flooded with several revelations and conspiracy theories over the gruesome murder of Ataga, and most of it has been harming his family, the family had said.
Ataga, who was first declared missing on Sunday, June 13 in Lagos, was discovered dead soon after.
The suspect, a student of the University of Lagos, Chidinma, claimed she had stabbed him multiple times in a drug-fueled attack.
Since she confessed to the media, while being paraded before the press by the police, unsubstantiated reports have emerged, which the family say have been uncomplimentary to them while they are grieving.
Some social media posts have mocked the Ataga family, while others indicted the widow, Brenda Ataga.
The family has now issued a statement urging those behind the malicious social media publications to refrain from publishing falsehood that impinges negatively on the integrity of the deceased, his wife and children.
The statement signed by Olusegun Jolaawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on behalf of the Rickey Tarfa & Co, solicitor for the family, on Sunday in Abuja demanded privacy and asked those who have useful information on the case to approach the police rather than peddling rumours on social media.
“It has become apparent even to the most undiscerning reader that from the variety and inherent malice in most of the said publications, that they are planted to embarrass and malign Usifo Ataga, Brenda Ataga and the family, and to serve as a smokescreen to enable the perpetrators of the heinous crime to cover their tracks,” Jolaawo said.
“We hereby admonish the publishers of these stories to employ whatever shreds of decency and decorum they can find in themselves to desist from their false and misleading stories and let the investigating authorities carry out an effective investigation in the hope of apprehending the perpetrators of this heinous crime and their accomplices.
“We know that Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu 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,” he added.
The statement added, “Our client hereby demands that the false publications and the several ordinarily unrelated stories and pictures of late Michael Usifo Ataga and Brenda Ataga be pulled down with immediate effect failing which our client shall take prompt and appropriate action to seek redress for the apparent instances of libel and slander as appropriate.”
In another statement, the brother of the deceased, Isi Ataga, said the false reports will have a long term impact on the lives of his brother’s children.
“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,” he said.
He expressed concern about their ageing parents having to cope with the vicious murder of their son and the stories that have trailed it.
The alleged murderer, Ms Ojukwu, a 300 level student at the University of Lagos, confessed to having murdered Usifo at a service apartment where she and Usifo had gone for a tryst after she claimed that they had both consumed hard drugs.
She claims they have been in a sexual relationship for four months and she had been provoked by the victim trying to force himself on her when she was not in the mood.
Despite her detailed confession, it is clear that the Ataga family are not entirely convinced.
“We, the Ataga family, are grateful to the Nigeria Police for pursuing the investigation.
“However, like you, we have many unanswered questions. Somethings don’t add up,” Isi said.
“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 the grieving family to recover from the loss of their beloved son.”
Even the lawyers suggest that they don’t buy into Ms Ojukwu’s narrative when in their statement they suggested that there might be more than one person involved in the murder.
Many people have doubted that Ms Ojukwu could have committed the crime alone as Mr Ataga was in good physical form before his murder.
The suspect said she acted alone and no other evidence has indicated the involvement of a third party.
Until the police conclude their investigation and the matter goes to court, speculations will always continue as to what truly transpired on July 15 between Mr Ataga and Chidinma Ojukwu.
For now, both the family of the victim and the suspected murderer are struggling to come to terms with the incident of that day that will change the cause of the lives of both families forever.