Urges investigation beyond Chidinma
Worried that the murder of the late Michael Ataga has inundated all strata of the media with inconceivable stories, his family appealed to Nigerians to allow them grieve in privacy.
In statement, the family said: “The more false information is disseminated in the press and on social media, the harder it is for the Nigerian Police to do their work and fully solve this case.
“The harder it is for a grieving family to recover from the loss of their beloved son.”
In a statement signed on behalf of the family by Dr. Isi Ataga , they appealed to Nigerians to allow them to grieve in privacy.
The statement expressed shock over the incident and commended the police for the job done so far.
They also appealed to members of the public to avail the police with more information that could assist in getting to the root of the killing. They are of the opinion that some fact might still be missing.
The family seeks the cessation of various narratives in public domain through the social media capable of putting the family and loved ones in more grief.
It stated further: “His children will grow up to read unkind, thoughtless words from thousands of people who have joined the lynching party in the press and the blogosphere.
“Our aging parents must now struggle to pick up the pieces amid a cacophony of misinformation propagated by strangers.
“A suspect has been arrested and paraded before the press. We, the Ataga family, are grateful to the Nigerian Police for pursuing this investigation. However, like you, we have many unanswered questions. Some things don’t add up,” it added.
Similarly, the family demanded an in-depth investigation of the murder of Usifo Ataga by asking the police to go beyond the arrest of the suspect and get to the bottom of the case.
In the 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, the family urged those behind the 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 added: “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 the Usifo Ataga, Brenda Ataga and 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,” he further stated.
The lawyer lamented that the tragic incident of the cold blooded murder of the 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 demands 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,” Jolaawo said in the statement.
“Our client, hereby, demands 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.”