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DNA on Chidinma's dress matches victim, Ataga in alleged murder trial

The forensic analyst stated he received 21 different items on different days from their DNA centre staff members.

Chidinma Ojukwu allegedly murdered Super TV CEO, Usifo Ataga (Punch)

Somiari, a Director and Consultant for the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, gave his evidence before a Lagos High Court, at Tafawa Balewa Square, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Ojukwu, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, is charged with the murder of Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu and one Adedapo Quadri.

At the resumed hearing, the witness was led in evidence by the Lagos State Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Adenike Oluwafemi. He told the court that he had practised on the area of forensic for a period of 15 years and had conducted over 500 forensic tests.

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The forensic analyst told the court that his office received 21 different items on different days from their DNA centre staff members. He said the items were received for evidence and they included a stained red dress, an army green Tshirt, a DNA sample from Chidinma Ojukwu.

He added that other items received were urine, blood, gastric content and byle which were retained for toxicology report. He said that the goal was to create an evidence triangle to link the suspect to the crime scene and the victim.

Somiari said that the DNA on the red dress matched that of the victim, Ataga. He, however, said that the DNA did not match that of Chidinma and the other suspects, Babalola Disu and Oluwatomi Dada.

The witness was cross examined by the first defendant’s counsel, Onwuka Egwu. The witness narrated how the result of the toxicology report was forwarded to the office of the Attorney-General of Lagos, the Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He, however, said that not all forensic reports went through such procedure. When asked if he questioned the report given by Dr Andrea Nuhu, the witness said: “I have already said that I am not a toxicologist. It is a toxicologist that can do such.”

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Egwu, however, requested for the video of the crime scene to be played and the court granted it. While the video was playing, he asked the witness whether the samples of the blood on the cotton, the wall, duvet, white polo the victim was wearing, were tested.

The witness answered that the samples were not submitted. He, however, said that the markers indicated in his report had nothing to do with the video. He had earlier said that some samples were in storage but not tested.

The second defendant counsel, Babatunde Busari, also cross examined the witness. Busari asked if any DNA sample was taken from the second defendant, Quadri, the witness said no. The counsel also asked the witness if he took part in the toxicology analysis which he answered no.

The third defendant counsel, C. G. Ugochikwu, said that she had no examination for the witness. After listening, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, adjourned the case until May 30 for continuation of trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ojukwu and the two others were arraigned on October 12, 2021 by the Lagos State Government. Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, and stabbing.

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Egbuchu, however, is facing the ninth count of stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

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