The house of representatives has asked the Nigeria police to stop parading Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of Usifo Ataga, Super TV CEO..
Chidinma had last month confessed to killing Ataga when she was paraded by the Lagos state police command.
However, in a recent interview, the suspect denied killing Ataga, adding that she was pressured to admit that she committed the crime.
During plenary session on Tuesday, the lawmakers called on the police to conduct a “proper investigation into the matter” and refrain from parading the suspect to grant interviews since the issue is under investigation.
The resolution of the lower legislative chamber was passed following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Tolu Akande-Sadipe, a lawmaker from Oyo state.
Akande-Sadipe said it is unlawful for the police to engage in “social media trial” of the suspect.
“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,” she said.
“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 offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty.
“Thus, so long as Ms. Ojukwu has not been proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, she is not to be labelled a criminal, or paraded about to conduct a 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.”
The lawmaker argued that the continued parading of the suspect can “affect the determination and outcome of the case, as well as amount to a breach of her fundamental right to fair hearing, especially where she is labelled or treated as one guilty of a crime”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.