The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, urged the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to ensure that the suspected killer of Super TV CEO, Mr Usifo Ataga, Chidinma Ojukwu does not die in police detention.
The House also enjoined the police to comply with the law in conducting their investigation and to henceforth restrict media access to Miss Ojukwu.
While debating a motion on the matter, the lawmakers expressed concern that since the arrest of Miss Ojukwu, she had 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 tights 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.
Akande-Sadipe explained 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.
Adding that if Miss Ojukwu continues to be paraded about for a social media the trial, it 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, especially where she is labeled or treated as one guilty of a crime.
Ojukwu, 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.