Controversy is hovering over what led to the death of the Chief Executive Officer of entertainment channel, Super TV, Mr Usifo Ataga.
Online reports claimed that an alleged mistress stabbed him to death with multiple wounds found in several parts of his body after they lodged in a place in the Lekki area of Lagos. The sum of N5m was said to have been withdrawn from his bank account and his phones, debit cards and other valuables reportedly missing.
But some of his close friends who spoke with Sunday PUNCH on Saturday debunked the claims, saying the deceased was murdered and not a philanderer.
One of the deceased’s friends who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the family said he had known Ataga for 25 years.
The close associate added that the deceased was on the verge of “one of the greatest breakthroughs Nigeria has ever seen” through his media establishment, Super TV, a mobile-enabled platform with two major telecommunication multinationals on board to create affordable subscription rates.
He added, “The circumstances under which he was murdered speak of torture. He wasn’t given one blow or shot once and left alone. There are multiple stab wounds on different parts of his body. It appears that someone was trying to get information out of him, and then the final (stab) in his neck was to take his life.
“Is it possible that someone wanted him out of the way? I’m not saying that is what happened. But he was a family man whose life was snuffed out needlessly. He came from a respectable family. Wednesday was his birthday.
Another friend, Rotimi Albert, whose relationship with Ataga began in 1982 at the Federal Government College, Warri, Delta State, and continued into the University of Benin and beyond, described him as a God-fearing, kind and loving man, who had a positive effect on the lives of everybody he came in contact with.
“The police are working diligently to solve this case and I am confident the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Then all the facts will be clear to everybody. I am hoping that they can stop all the social media stories and let the police do their work,” he said.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said he was going to get back to our correspondents but had yet to do so as of the time of this report.
However, a source toldSunday PUNCHthat the facility manager of the service apartment where the tragic incident took place had been arrested, adding that efforts were on to arrest the fleeing suspect.
The source said, “Investigation is ongoing in Lagos and Abuja, we have the facility manager of the service apartment in our custody and we are interrogating him. The service apartment does not have enough security measures in place that would have prevented such a thing. There was no CCTV camera, if there was a CCTV camera, that would have assisted us in identifying the girl. The management is assisting us and efforts are on to arrest the girl.”
When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said efforts were on to arrest the fleeing suspect, adding that the victim and the suspect had been lodging in the apartment for now fewer than three days.
He stated that the victim met the suspect in the apartment, adding on the day of the incident, the victim was scheduled to travel to Abuja to celebrate his birthday with his family.
He added that the suspect in custody was a tenant who had been using the flat for service apartment, adding that she had been assisting the police investigation.