COMRADE OYERINDE'S MURDER AND THE TWIST IN POLICE INVESTIGATION - THE BIG CONSPIRACY
Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was murdered in his Benin City residence in the early hours of Friday, May 4, 2012. Until his death, he was the Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and a close associate of Rev. David Ugolor, the Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ). Indeed, an impeccable and convivial private relationship existed between the slain Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde and Rev. David Ugolor.
Immediately, after the robbery attack on the late Olaitan’s residence, where the attackers made away with cell phones of occupants of the House, the late Olaitan’s wife, Mrs. Funke Oyerinde rushed to the residence of Rev. David Ugolor in the middle of the night to inform him that the husband has been shot by gun men. Rev. Ugolor responded with haste and rushed to the late Olaitan’s house with Mrs. Funke Oyerinde in a bid to save his life. Rev Ugolor soaked in blood rushed Oyerinde to the Central Hospital, Benin City and had it hot with some of the hospital staff who delayed in attending to the late Oyerinde. He yelled at the doctors and nurses on duty to make haste to save his friend's life that was still alive in hospital. If we were to be in a developed nation, Comrade Olaitan would not have died through the frantic efforts of David and Late Olaitan's wife!
Angered by this sad development, Ugolor called a press conference and called on the Nigerian security agencies to do everything within their powers to fish out his friend's killers and bring them to justice. He used the opportunity to tell the world his frustrations in the hands of the hospital staff, a situation which led to disciplinary action visited on all those on duty that night.
Acting on Governor Oshiomhole’s outcry, President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the security operatives including Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, to immediately swing into action to ensure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act were brought to justice. The police then began investigation into the matter along with the Department of State Security Service (SSS).
Rev. David Ugolor recounted how he gave the security operatives including the police the needed cooperation and support in the course of their investigation, haven been invited six times by the police for chat, before his arrest and detention, as acknowledged by the police investigators.
Rev Ugolor, again, explained how he was arrested on Friday July 27, 2012, noted that the police again invited him for a chat and when he met with them, they detained him, seized his phones for hours before approaching the court for a warrant of arrest and search. When the police got the warrant, at about 2.05pm heavily armed security operatives some wearing Federal SARS jacket, others plain clothes swooped on ANEEJ office and brought Ugolor in Handcuffs. They had ransacked his private home and office, but found nothing incriminating.
Staffs of ANEEJ and guests at the office were held hostage and intimidated by the police and had their cell phones seized and switched off for as long as the security men stayed in the office, which lasted for about three hours. They later returned the phones at about 5pm before vacating the office premises with some items which they took away.
It would be recalled that few days to the Edo State Governorship election, the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar flew into Benin City and announced that they have arrested four persons who killed Comrade Olaitan. The Police, perhaps had set a trap for the ruling party in Edo State, where anyone close to government would be apprehended and roped in. This perhaps suggests why after scooping around shortly after the elections, David Ugolor's name who had been interrogated earlier by the police became the man to be framed up for the murder.
Rev David Ugolor also recalled how a Police Officer attached to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Mr. Moses Jolugbo, took his photograph in one of his meeting with them two weeks before his arrest, at the State Force Headquarters, Benin City. (God knows what Mr. Moses Jolugbo did with Rev Ugolor’s photographs; maybe he showed it to Garba Usman Maisamari, who later identified Rev Ugolor in a pre-arranged identification parade which one of Ugolor’s lawyers, Barr. Osaro Osemwegie, duly objected to and petitioned the IGP but the IGP still allowed the same police officers to continue with the investigation). This suggests to us that some highly placed persons are using some bad elements in the police to frame up Rev David Ugolor in the matter. Garba Usman Maisamari, one of the suspect in police custody had claimed that Ugolor promised to pay him N20 million to kill Olaitan so that Ugolor can take over Olaitan’s job. He also claim that Ugolor paid him N200,000 advance and promised to pay the balance when the job is completed. (Is it possible for someone to accept N200,000 part payment for a N20 million job to commit such a heinous crime?).
It will be important to state that there was a video interaction between Rev David Ugolor and his accuser - Garba Usman Maisamari, where the suspect said that Rev David Ugolor uses an Etisalat network which Ugolor used to talk to him to confirm that the job has been done and that Olaitan has been taken to the mortuary. The same Etisalat line he (Garba Usman Maisamari) had used severally to communicate with Ugolor and with it, has been calling Ugolor to collect his balance. It is interesting to note that Rev David neither has nor uses an Etisalat line.
Again Maisamari, claim during the video interaction that he does not know Ugolor’s house and office, he also made false claim that Rev Ugolor uses a Toyota Camry car, which he used to meet him at Ring Road, Benin City, where Rev Ugolor went to change 800 dollars. Neither Rev David Ugolor nor late Comrade Olaitan uses Toyota Camry. The fact that the suspect does not have reliable information about Rev David Ugolor and the late Comrade Olaitan invalidates all his dubious claims.
Interestingly, the Department of State Security Service (SSS) in Nigeria on Wednesday morning (August 1st, 2012) paraded six armed robbery suspects in Abuja, Nigeria who confessed to killing Olaitan Oyerinde. Their names are Mohammed Abdullahi, Raymond Origbo, Chikezie Edeh, Saidi Yakubu (aka Imam), Sani Abubakar and Hassan Bashiru. Items stolen from Olaitan’s house including his phones, i-Pad, and wedding ring of his brother-in-law who was equally robbed were displayed by the SSS. The robbers confessed that it was a robbery case that went awry and even the gun used by the robbers to kill Olaitan was also recovered from the robbers by the SSS. In spite of the convincing revelation by the SSS, the police still refused to free David Ugolor. The SSS has now handed over the suspects to the police. In less than 48 hours after the handover, the police is claiming that two of the suspects have recanted their confessions! What an “abracadabra”?
Yet another interesting dimension was the statement by Governor Adams Oshiomhole after he was briefed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police heading the investigation on August 10, 2012, where he expressed surprise that about two weeks after Ugolor was arrested, there was no concrete link between him and his accuser. Governor Oshiomhole noted that with the level of technological advancement, and given the police claims of several phone calls between the alleged suspects, the police ought to have established through the call logs the evidence of telephone contact between the suspects before the arrest and detention of Ugolor.
In his view, the police investigating team was purely engaged in acts of mischief making in a futile attempt to shield the real murderer of Oyerinde and therefore called on President Jonathan to set up a high-powered panel of enquiry or set up a crack team to resolve what he called national embarrassment.
Rev Ugolor through his lawyer filed two applications on 8th August, 2012, before the High court of Edo State, sitting in Benin City. The first was a motion exparte seeking an order to grant him bail and for such other orders the court may deem fit. The second was a motion on notice with seven prayers among which was a declaration that his arrest was illegal and his continued detention was in gross violation of his fundamental human right. The motion exparte was heard on August 14, 2012 and adjourn to 16th August, 2012 for ruling.
Precisely on August 16, 2012, the court presided over by Justice Esther Edigin refused to grant bail since Ugolor has not been charged for anything and in that circumstance ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to release Rev. David Ugolor from detention anywhere they have kept him in this country to enable him attend to his failing health, immediately and unconditionally, pending the determination of the motion on notice. The court then adjourned to August 23rd to hear the motion on notice.
By August 23, the Inspector General of Police on behalf of the Nigerian police had filed a counter Affidavit and Preliminary Objection to the effect that he was not served the court processes. But the proof of service before the court which was duly signed/stamped by the Nigerian Police shows that the Inspector General of Police and other respondents were served on the 9th of August, 2012. Therefore the court struck out the counter affidavit because it was filed out of time, specifically on 22nd of August, 2012.
Again, the IGP and Attorney General of the Federation have filed another motion for extension of time within which to file their processes. They also raised preliminary objection praying the court to strike out the suit earlier filed by Rev Ugolor, as they argued that the suit is incompetent and therefore the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain it. Their argument being that jurisdiction is invoked by proper service.
Since the court ruling on August 16, 2012, counsel to Rev Ugolor has written two (including sending copies of the court processes and ruling) letters to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, a senior advocate of Nigeria, urging him to prevail on the IGP to obey court order. Mohammed Adoke has neither responded to the letters nor the request. This again suggests that Mohammed Adoke and the presidency has a hand in the unlawful arrest and detention of Rev. Ugolor in violation of his fundamental human right.
In all this and given the time the police has spent on this case, it is funny that the police cannot move swiftly to analyse the call log of Rev Ugolor with his mystery accuser, Garba Usman Maisamari and conclude their investigations just the way the case of Cynthia Udoka Osokogu who was killed by her facebook friend, was done - who have now been arraigned in court. This also suggests a political undertone to the case.
We wish to recall the IGP’s recent interaction with newsmen in Minna, Niger State, which focused on his administration’s mission and vision (as widely reported by the media – see Nigeria Tribune of Tuesday, August 28, 2012, pages 37 & 39). The IG clearly stated among other things that; he "desire to see a people-friendly police force and a police force that enjoy the trust of the people of Nigeria, a police force that will protect Nigerians, a police force where corruption and bribery would not be tolerated, a police force where harassment and ill treatment of any citizen of this country would not be entertained by the police leadership".
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, progressed to state how he has been critical about injustice, bribery, corruption and about doing things right. He added that one of the reasons why he joined the Nigerian Police is to serve humanity and ensure that justice is done at all times.
We are glad about these virtues and vision the IGP cherish and we are interested in holding him to account on all of these commitments and desires in respect of Rev. David Ugolor. But will it be correct to say that these virtues contradict the IGP’s complete disregard for court order?
We also want to believe that it is in corroboration of the IGP's statement concerning police hatred and despair for injustice, that the Force Deputy Public Relation Officer, CSP Frank Mba in a recent media chat, again noted that the Police will do justice to all the suspects and the family of the slain Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde. It is also gratifying to note that Mr. Frank Mba has admitted that it was a robbery incident and that it was the late Oyerinde that dropped Ugolor in Ugolor house as they had believed. (See the Nation Newspaper of Monday, August 27,2012, page 54). I believe that this is in the spirit of justice.
The purpose of this article is not to obstruct police investigation. As a matter of fact, we encourage the police to continue and conclude their investigations and also to respect the fundamental human right of Rev. Ugolor by obeying the court order.
Written By Innocent Edemhanria