IfeOluwa Oluwo, a witness who deals in the sale and purchase of phones, laptop and accessories, has told the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square annex in Igbosere how he bought a MacBook Pro laptop from Chidinma Ojukwu on June 18, 2021.
Chidinma, a 21-year-old Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, is standing trial for the murder of the CEO of online video streaming platform, Super TV, Usifo Ataga, whose body was discovered at a short let flat in Lekki phase 1 where he and the accused had lodged into three days earlier.
She was arrested by the police on June 23, 2021. She was said to have been in a romantic relationship with 50-year-old Usifo for about four months before the incident.
Usifo was found dead with multiple stabs on June 16 at a short let apartment on Adebowale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase I where he had checked in with Chidinma.
She was consequently arrested on June 23 in her father’s house in Yaba and paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja.
She confessed to stabbing Usifo with a knife under the influence of alcohol and withdrawing N380,000 from the victim’s account with his ATM card. She, however, backtracked later in a video, absolving herself from the murder.
Usifo was buried on July 30 in a low-key ceremony attended by his family members, including his wife, and friends.
According to PremiumTimes, Oluwo who is the third prosecution witness in the trial told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that his company located at Computer Village, Ikeja sells and buys brand new and used devices.
He identifies the first defendant, Chidinma Ojukwu as his customer who bought a phone from him on April 30 this year and says she also sold a laptop to him on June 18.
According to him, the MacBook Pro was valued at N495,000 after negotiations and market value comparison.
When asked by the prosecuting counsel How he conducts sales of used items from a customer in order to prevent buying a stolen property, the witness said the person is required to submit documents which include a government approved ID card, and must fill a form providing their full names, contact details as well as the name, serial number and value of the item.
“We do this in order to contact the customer whenever any issues arise. I have never experienced any issue on purchases like this,” he explained.
He added that he was called in to inspect the laptop Chidinma brought on June 18, and that he was unable to access it initially, so He asked her to unlock the device which she did.
“Then I asked for the receipt of purchase of the laptop, she stated that It was a gift from her boyfriend and that she now had two laptops, so she wanted to sell one in order to pay for some bills.
“Then I confirmed the value of the laptop from Apple’s website, I found my mark and market valuation which led to a value of 1000-1,200 dollars. As at that time, the dollar rate was about 400-450 naira per dollar.”
“She wanted to sell for 600,000 naira, but we agreed to 495,000 naira which I negotiated from my UBA account to her Sterling Bank account, after the forms were filled and the documents in our possession.”
Oluwo went on to say that After the sale, they learnt on social media about the death of the deceased and that the name of the suspect resembled that of his customer, so he kept the documents of the transaction handy.
A few days later, the police from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, invited his manager, Olutayo Abayomi for questioning.
“When I got to the station, I discovered that the case was connected with the purchase of the laptop from Chidinma. We both wrote statements detailing our account in relation to the laptop, we explained to the police how we made a purchase of the laptop and supplied her voters card, and our form containing all relevant information pertaining to her and the laptop.”
The witness concluded his evidence-in-chief by saying there is no way to detect if a phone or laptop brought in to be sold is stolen.
During the brief cross examination, the counsel to the undergraduate, Onwuka Egwu, asked Mr Oluwo if he was shown any document at Panti, as to the contrary of what Chidinma told him regarding the ownership of the MacBook, and he said no.
The witness wanted to explain further saying he forgot to add information earlier, but the lawyer said it wasn’t necessary.
The two other defense counsel, Babatunde Busari and Olajide Odusanya declined cross examination, saying the evidence didn’t indict their clients.
Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri are standing trial for the murder.
Chidinma alone is accused of stealing the deceased’s two iPhones, his MacBook and two ATM cards from which N380,000 was allegedly withdrawn.
While a third person, Chioma Egbuchu is accused of receiving the late Mr Ataga’s stolen phone.