The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Police to conduct a proper investigation into Chindinma Ojukwu’s alleged murder of Super TV’s CEO, Michael Usifo Ataga and refrain from parading her to grant interviews on the matter under investigation.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Tolu Akande-Sadipe (APC-Oyo) at the plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.
Moving the motion, the lawmaker called for compliance of the police force with the laws of the country and proper investigation into the death of Usifo Ataga.
She said since the arrest of Chidinma, she had been paraded around, granting interviews to various news platforms, including the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
She said that this had caused the internet and news media to be agog with various versions of the story.
The lawmaker said that this is even though the Police had already launched an investigation into the matter.
“The law of Nigeria does not allow for social media trials and matters that are subjudice to be discussed by the media.”
According to her, Section 36(5) of the Constitution provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty.
“Thus, so long as Chidinma 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 said.
The lawmaker said that if Chidinma continued to be paraded for a social media trial, it could affect the determination and outcome of the case.
She said that it could also 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.
The House, therefore, called on the Inspector-General of Police to call all police personnel to order and ensure that there is no repeat of this violation of human rights.
The House also called for a cessation of media access to arrested persons in the future to avoid compromising the case in a court of law.
According to the House, this is to ensure future cases are not treated in the same manner and ensure that Chindinma, the accused does not die in custody or commit suicide.