The family of late Michael Usifo Ataga broke its silence on Sunday morning, calling for an in-depth investigation of his murder and urging the police to go beyond the arrest of the suspect prime suspect, Miss Chidinma Ojukwu, to get to the bottom of the case.
In a statement entitled “Libelous Publications In Respect of Murder Of Michael Usifo Ataga: Demand For Restraint By Social Media Practitioners/Persons”, by Rickey Tarfa & Co, solicitor to the family, on Saturday night, urged those behind the malicious social media publications to refrain from publishing falsehood that impinges negatively on the integrity of the deceased, wife and children or face lawsuits.
The statement signed by Olusegun Jolaawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on behalf of the law firm, urged Nigerians to allow the police to conduct its investigations without any distraction or interference.
“We hereby admonish the publishers of these stories to employ whatever shreds of decency and decorum they can find in themselves to desist from their false and misleading stories and let the investigating authorities carry out effective investigation in the hope of apprehending the perpetrators of this heinous crime and their accomplices. Yes we know that Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu has been arrested and yes we know that investigation is continuing. Our client is however convinced that there is much more to this than is already apparent from the police investigation,” Jolaawo said in the statement.
He further said: “It has become apparent even to the most undiscerning reader that from the variety and inherent malice in most of the said publications that they are planted to embarrass and malign Usifo Ataga, Brenda Ataga and the family, and to serve as a smokescreen to enable the perpetrators of the heinous crime cover their tracks.
“Our client appreciates the efforts of the law enforcement agencies in their investigations thus far, and will not descend into particulars with respect to any of the said false narratives so as not to inadvertently aid the perpetrators of the murder in covering their tracks.”
The lawyer lamented that the tragic incident of the cold blooded murder of late Michael Ataga has inundated all strata of the media with inconceivable stories being peddled on all sorts of platforms about the incident and therefore called for restraints from the publishers of the unfounded stories.
“Our client at this juncture requests that the well-meaning public allow the family to mourn their departed son, father and husband with some privacy and decency. Our client also feels very strongly about the unbridled activities of bloggers on the social media space with respect to this incident and firmly demand that the said bloggers cease and desist from peddling falsehood aimed at maligning the deceased, wife and children. The family will not be intimidated by these bloggers’ activities and insist that the police be allowed to do their work.
“Our client hereby demand that the false publications and the several ordinarily unrelated stories and pictures of late Michael Usifo Ataga and Brenda Ataga be pulled down with immediate effect failing which our client shall take prompt and appropriate action to seek redress for the apparent instances of libel and slander as appropriate,” Jolaawo said in the statement.