The third prosecution witness in the murder trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of Usifo Ataga, Ifeoluwa Olowu, recently appeared in court to give account of how he bought the deceased’s MacBook Pro laptop from Chidinma.
According to his statement, Chidinma visited his shop on June 18th to sell the item to him, but unfortunately, he didn’t know the circumstances that led to the sale of the laptop.
Chidinma told him that she wanted to sell the laptop for N600,000, but after negotiations, they agreed for N495,000, which he later transferred from his bank account to hers.
A few days after the purchase, the news of Usifo’s murder surfaced on the internet, and Olowu identified Chidinma in the story.
Olowu and his manager, Olutayo Abayomi, later landed in police net. He was arraigned at the Yaba Magistrate Court alongside two other suspects, but in the end, the Directorate of Public Prosecution absolved him from the crime, and said that he had no case to answer in Ataga’s murder.
Buying stolen property is a criminal offence in Nigeria, and is punishable by law, but there were safety measures Olowu took in his business transaction with Chidinma, which helped him to be exonerated by the DPP at the end of the day. And that is what we are going to look at, so that others can learn from it.
Olowu said that when he asked Chidinma for the receipt of the laptop, she told him that the laptop was a gift from her boyfriend, and that she wanted to sell it to settle some bills since she had two. So Olowu requested documents from her containing government-approved ID card, and also gave her a form to fill providing her full name, contact address, serial number and value of the laptop.
Before buying the laptop from Chidinma, he also confirmed the value of the MacBook Pro from Apple website, and saw that his mark and market valuation led to a value of 1000-1,2000 dollars. And that time, the dollar rate was about N400-N450 per dollar.
During investigations, it was these transaction details and Chidinma’s voters’ card that he provided that got him exonerated.
The truth is that we all transact business everyday. We buy and sell, and sometimes we buy without even knowing where the items are coming from. Many people have landed in serious trouble because they bought stolen items unknowingly.
But before a person who buys a stolen item is exonerated, there are certain things that the court considers. A buyer of a stolen item stands a chance of being exonerated if he is able to identify the person that sold the item to him. So because of this reason, always make sure that you buy goods from open markets like supermarkets, stores, etc. Avoid buying goods from hawkers on the highway, because if anything happens, you might not be able to trace the person that sold them to you.
Make sure you get receipt for every item you purchase, even if the person selling the item to you is your closest friend.
Another important thing is, before you buy an item from any individual, conduct a market survey to know the market value of the item you want to buy. If the person is offering the item at a ridiculous price, then chances are that there might be something fishy about it. So you have to be cautious, and ask a lot of questions about why he wants to sell at such a price.
Lastly, avoid doing business with anyone in a clandestine manner. Make sure whatever business transaction you have with someone is done in the open, and during the day.
These are vital precautionary measures that Ifeoluwa observed when he bought the MacBook Pro from Chidinma which saved his head at the end of the day.