Oyerinde: Reps Fault Oshiomhole's Call For Sack of Police Chiefs

Source: pointblanknews.com

Say DIG Gana, DCP Ezike acted “professionally”
The House of Representatives' committee that probed alleged police complicity in the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, private secretary to Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has faulted the governor's call for the sack of the officers who investigated the crime.

Governor Oshiomhole had at a public forum in January 2013 called for the sack of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force CID, Peter Gana, and a Deputy Commissioner of Police Chris Ezike.

At the function which had in attendance Vice President Namadi Sambo, Oshiomhole fumed: “The DIG Force CID has a case to answer; it is either he is guilty of conspiracy to murder or is guilty of conspiracy to shield murderers or both. In which case he cannot wear his police uniform, he must be dismissed.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Police that he used claimed that they had done a thorough job. He has no business wearing police uniform because by my judgment, in his own narrative, he is a criminal.”

However, in a recently released report of the House of Representatives' committee on public petitions that investigated the allegations by Oshiomhole and several civil society groups, the lawmakers said DIG Gana and DCP Ezike acted “professionally.”

Said the report, “Without prejudice to the case in court, the arrest of Rev. David Ugolor in the course of police investigation was within the competence of the police in its effort to unravel the case.”

“On the allegation that Rev. David Ugolor was arrested and detained by the police on the uncorroborated allegation of a suspect even when (he) was known to have helped the police in their investigation, the committee is won't to say that there is nothing unprofessional in the police action.

“The law allows the police to interrogate anybody it suspects in the course if investigation. The police was not just out for escape (sic) goat, but did it in the course of investigation.

“The police within available and documentary evidence before the committee conducted their investigation professionally, and there is no overt or covert evidence to show police complicity on (sic) the matter.

The House committee noted that communication between the police, office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, and that of Edo State “did not breach any law as it falls within acceptable privileged communication between these government departments.”

The committee however frowned at the situation where the contents of such exchange of correspondences were publicized by Edo State government.

According to the committee, Section 4 of the Police Force Act Cap P. 19 LFN, 2004, and State Security Service (SSS) Act Cap. N. 74 LFN, 2004, clearly defined their roles of the respective agencies.

The lawmakers reasoned that had the SSS stuck to its role of intelligence gathering and left the police to address the case of murder, the controversy generated by the probe of Oyerinde's murder would not have arisen.

In the 18-page report, the lawmakers noted that had the Edo State Attorney-General being aware of his duties, he would have realized that murder was a state offence, and that the prosecution of the suspects would have been by his office.

“The offence allegedly committed is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the states in the Federation (see Criminal Procedure Act Cap C. 38 LFN, 2004)” the report stated.

In its seven-paragraph recommendation the committee urged the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and officers of Esigie police station, Benin on the observed inconsistencies in the entry of a single barrel gun.

It mandated the police to further investigate the involvement of Rev. Ugolor beyond the confession of a suspect.

The committee urged the security agencies to cooperate and collaborate on their areas of efficiencies while ensuring respect for their statutory responsibilities of the respective agencies.

The lawmakers further recommended that as Chief Security Officers (CSOs) of their states, governors should be regularly briefed on the security situation of their states.

The report, which was signed by committee chairman Uzo Azubuike, and clerk Michael Ugwu, commended the efforts of the police and SSS in investigating Oyerinde's murder, but called for better cooperation between the agencies.

The House had on 15th November, 2012 received a petition from Hon. Bello Osagie on behalf of some groups. A vocal lawmaker, Osagie is a member of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Oshiomhole's protege.

The petition was signed by a coalition of groups sympathetic to Ugolor, who was the last person seen with the Late Oyerinde.

Governor Oshiomhole had stoutly defended Ugolor, claiming that the police framed his friend to shield the real killers of his slain aide.

Meanwhile Pointblanknews.com gathered that associates of Governor Oshiomhole are considering brokering a reconciliation meeting between the governor and the two top police officers.

A close friend of the governor confided in Pointblanknews.com that the governor had since expressed remorse over his outburst on DIG Gana and DCP Ezike.

“Even before the presentation of the House report, we realised that our friend (Oshiomhole) picked on the wrong people. From our independent investigations, we understand that Gana and Ezike are among the finest officers in the police force,” an associate offered.

The friend however ruled out the possibility of tendering a public apology to the officers, saying the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could make political capital of it.

“Yes, no doubt, Comrade (Oshiomhole) slandered and libeled the officers. That was wrong. But he is also human. Remember the controversy generated by the “go-and-die” episode? We don't want PDP to make an issue out of this.

“If Comrade is sorry? Yes. If he would apologise? In due time, yes. But what I cannot assure is if he would make it a private or public apology. The good thing is that the affected officers are professionals, who would not want to be entangled in any political web,” he stressed, adding, “what happened was highly regrettable.”

Below is the full report:
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