The House of Representatives has asked the police to stop the multiple media interviews of Chidinma Ijukwu, the prime suspect in the murder of Super TV CEO, Mr. Usifo Ataga.
Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos was arrested on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, over the alleged murder of the Super TV CEO, Mr. Usifo Ataga, in a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos.
The House during plenary today July 13, expressed concern that since the arrest of Chidinma, she has been paraded around, granting interviews to various several news platforms, thereby causing the internet and news media to be agog with the discussion and dissecting the matter. They, however, cautioned the police to ensure that there is no repeat of violation of human rights such as media access to arrested persons in the future to avoid compromising the case in a court of law.
According to the motion moved by the member representing Oluyole federal constituency of Oyo State, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, the law of Nigeria does not allow for social media trials and matters that are sub judice (meaning before the court or not yet judicially decided) are not to be discussed by the media. He argued that Section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty.
“So long as Ms. Ojukwu has not been proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, she is not to be labeled a criminal or paraded about to conduct series of interviews on a case currently under investigation. Rather, the police are to conduct a proper investigation and allow the court to consider the matter and make an informed judgment,” she stated
Sadipe said the interviews granted by the suspect could affect the determination and outcome of the case as well as the amount to a breach of her fundamental right to a fair hearing.