Forensic Expert Confirms Blood on Chidinma’s Dress Matches Usifo Ataga’s DNA

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In the ongoing trial of undergraduate student Chidinma Ojukwu for the murder of Super TV CEO Usifo Ataga, the Lagos High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square heard testimony from forensic expert Dr. Richard Somiari.

Dr. Somiari, the eleventh prosecution witness, informed the court that the DNA blood sample found on Chidinma’s red dress matched that of the victim, Ataga.

Under questioning by Lagos State Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Adenike Oluwafemi, Dr. Somiari, who has 15 years of experience in forensic practice and has conducted over 500 forensic tests, provided expert testimony regarding the findings.

The forensic analyst further informed the court that his office received a total of 21 items related to Chidinma’s case from their DNA center staff members, each received on different days. Among these items were a stained red dress, an army green t-shirt, and a DNA sample from Chidinma Ojukwu.

Additionally, the items included urine, blood, gastric content, and bile, which were retained for a toxicology report. The objective was to establish an evidence triangle connecting the suspect to the crime scene and the victim.

Somiari confirmed that the DNA found on the red dress matched that of the victim, Ataga, but it did not match Chidinma’s DNA or that of the other initially charged suspects, Babalola Disu and Oluwatomi Dada.

During cross-examination by the first defendant’s counsel, Mr. Onwuka Egwu, the witness described how the toxicology report’s results were sent to the office of the Attorney General of Lagos, Commissioner of Police, and Director of Public Prosecutions. However, he noted that not all forensic reports followed the same procedure.

When asked if he questioned the report given by the toxicologist, 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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During the trial, Egwu, the first defendant’s counsel, requested the video of the crime scene to be played, which the court granted. While the video played, Egwu questioned whether samples of blood on various items at the scene were tested, to which the witness replied they were not submitted for testing.

The witness clarified that the markers indicated in his report were unrelated to the video, and some stored samples were not tested. The second defendant’s counsel, Mr. Babatunde Busari, also cross-examined the witness, querying if any DNA sample was taken from the second defendant, Quadri, and if the witness participated in the toxicology analysis, to which the witness replied negatively to both.

After the testimony, Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until May 30 for further proceedings. Ojukwu and the two others were arraigned on Oct. 12, 2021, by the Lagos State Government, facing charges ranging from conspiracy to murder and stabbing.

Ojukwu and Quadri face counts one through eight, while her sister, Egbuchu, faces the ninth count related to stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

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