In her latest court appearance on Tuesday, Chidinma Ojukwu, alongside Adedapo Quadri, another suspect in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, pleaded not guilty to eight counts bordering on murder, forgery and stealing.
Ojukwu, 22, a 300-level mass communication student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), had been arrested on June 23 over the murder of Ataga at a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
After a Yaba magistrate court ruling that Ojukwu be remanded in prison for 30 days on August 9, she was charged by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Lagos State, with the murder of Ataga in September.
The case has generated a lot of conversations on many social media platforms since June when her alleged involvement in the murder came public, making it a closely monitored and keenly followed high-profile case.
However, Ojukwu’s is not the first glamour murder case that has been unresolved since 2017.
CHUKWUDI ONUAMADIKE AKA EVANS
Chukwudi Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans, is believed to be one of the richest criminals in the kidnapping business in Nigeria. Following his arrest in 2017, the Nigeria Police said he had made up to $1,000,000 in four kidnappings.
Evans is said to have collected between N50 million and N100 million as ransoms from relatives of his high-profile victims. The Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) also described him as a very smart, crafty and intelligent kidnapper, having evaded arrest for four years, and despite being on a most wanted list in Lagos, Edo and Anambra State. He is also believed to have killed some of his victims.
On June 10, 2017, and after months of intelligence gathering, more than 20 security operatives stormed Evans’ residence on Fred Shoboyede Street, Magodo Phase II, Lagos, to effect his arrest.
Until then, Evans was the regular upscale Magodo resident with a wife, kids, a house-help and a security officer at the manning his gate. He drove himself, though, and had no security apparatus or escort vans.
He was totally unassuming and drew no attention to himself. Bystanders who witnessed the arrest claimed Evans exchanged gunfire with the operatives for several minutes before he was eventually disarmed. Before his arrest, the police had placed a N30million bounty on his head.
Evans is currently undergoing trial on 52 charges of multiple murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms, unlawful possession of ammunition and conspiracy, among others.
However, in January, he denied all criminal allegations at a High Court in lagos, insisting that he is a legitimate businessman. He also claimed that he does not go by the name Evans, and that he only admitted to being a kidnapper after the police killed four suspects who refused to cooperate with them.
HAMISU BALA AKA WADUME
Hamisu Bala, also known as Wadume, is another well-known suspect. He was allegedly a Taraba State-based kidnap kingpin who operated across the northeast, northwest and the north-central states of Nigeria.
Apart from being a kidnapper, Wadume was also a prominent supplier of arms and ammunition to terrorists in the northeastern part of the country, and cattle rustlers across the north.
On August 6, 2019, Wadume was arrested by Nigerian Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) at Ibi, Taraba State. But while being taken to Abuja for interrogation, the police team that was conveying him came under attack by a team of soldiers manning a checkpoint at Takum, Taraba State. In the process, three policemen and two civilians lost their lives, while Wadume was set free.
While later explaining the reason for their action, the military said they were alerted that the occupants of the vehicle were kidnappers who had just kidnapped Wadume from his house and were taking him to their hideout.
However, the police said it informed the military about the operation beforehand.
On 19 August 2019, Wadume was re-arrested at his new hideout in Latin Mai Allo Hotoro, Kano State.
It was later revealed during investigations that Tijani Balarabe, the army captain, had engaged in several phone conversations with Wadume prior to the incident at the checkpoint. Wadume would also later confess that Balarabe had always been on his payroll.
Wadume’s case suffered stagnation for four months during the 2021 Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN) strike.
UDUAK FRANK AKPAN
On April 30, Uduak Frank Akpan, a self-confessed serial rapist, was arrested after allegedly raping and killing Ini-Urban Umoren, a job seeker.
On April 27, Umoren, 26-year-old fresh graduate of the University of Uyo, had tweeted that she urgently needed a job, and one of the responses she got was from her would-be killer, who invited her to a location in Akwa-Ibom for an offer.
When Umoren could no longer be reached via her phone line, Umoh Uduak, a friend of the victim who also knew about the job offer, raised an alarm on Twitter on April 29.
A search was initiated by the police in Akwa Ibom State, and on May 2, Omoren’s body was found buried in the compound of Frank Akpan, Uduak’s father.
Uduak said he had raped six ladies in the past, and that only Umoren had died, because she attacked him.
On July 26, Uduak and his father were arraigned before the Akwa Ibom State High Court on a three-count charge of murder, rape and accessory.
Uduak pleaded guilty to the murder charge and not guilty to the rape charge. On August 18, the court adjourned the case until November, 1,2, 4,10, 11, 15, 16 and five days in December for an accelerated hearing. Like the others before it, Uduak’s case is far from resolved.
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