The family of the slain Super TV CEO, Michael Usifo Ataga, in a statement entitled, ‘Libelous Publications In Respect of Murder Of Michael Usifo Ataga: Demand For Restraint By Social Media Practitioners/Persons,’ by Rickey Tarfa & Co, solicitor to the family, warned those that have delighted in publishing all sorts of false publications on social media to refrain from such posts as they paint negative pictures about the integrity of the deceased and his family or otherwise face lawsuits.
In statement which was signed by Olusegun Jolaowo, SAN, on behalf of the law firm appealed to Nigerians to allow the police to do their jobs and carry out investigations without all the distractions and hullabaloo.
The statement reads: ‘Yes we know that Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu has been arrested and yes 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,’ Jolaawo said in the statement.
‘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’.
‘Our client appreciates the efforts of the law enforcement agencies in their investigations thus far, and will not descend into particulars concerning any of the said false narratives so as not to inadvertently aid the perpetrators of the murder in covering their tracks’.
The lawyer lamented that the tragic incident of the cold-blooded murder of late Michael Ataga has inundated all strata of the media with inconceivable stories being peddled on all sorts of platforms about the incident and therefore called for restraints from the publishers of the unfounded stories’.
Jolaowo continued, ‘Our client at this juncture requests that the well-meaning public allow 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 concerning this incident and firmly demands that the said bloggers cease from peddling falsehood aimed at maligning the deceased, 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 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’, he concluded.
They have also urged the police to carry out a rigorous investigation into the case, in order to fish out the other people involved is the murder of their brother, Ataga.
According to a family member, the late Usifo’s neck was broken on inspection and the marks on his wrists could only mean that he must have been bound.
Their suspicion was heightened by the fact that a rope was also found inside the short-let apartment where his body was found at No 19, Adewale Oshun Street, in Lekki Phase 1.
His elder brother, Dr Isi Ataga in another statement which he titled, ‘Who Will Speak for Usifo Ataga’, confirmed these findings.
He said: ‘Usifo died a horrific death. He was not stabbed two or even five times; he was stabbed multiple times. His hands were bound tightly and the marks were still all over his wrists, accompanied with evidence of torture and assault even as his corpse lay in the morgue’.
‘And no one in the entire building heard his screams because he was gagged. Let that sink in, he was bound, gagged and tortured’ !
‘The now-viral video of the room with the deceased lying on the floor shows a room with blood-stained walls and floor, evidence of a ferocious struggle. One person could never have carried these out.’
As for the 300 level student of UNILAG, Ojukwu, who already confessed to killing Mr Ataga, the Senate of the institution has made plans to sit and decide on her fate before the 51st convocation ceremony of the school which will kick off Wednesday 30th with a press briefing by the VC, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.’