The Edo governor identifies loopholes in the police investigation of his aide’s killers.
By Ini Ekott
The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has rubbished the police investigation into his aide’s killing, dismissing as “inconsistent” police claims that led to the arrest of suspects different from those arrested by the State Security Service.
Both agencies had paraded separate groups of suspects for the same crime, triggering a public backlash, and allegations the security agencies were scheming to hide the real killers of Mr. Oyerinde.
Mr. Oshiomhole said on Wednesday he was satisfied more with the work done by the SSS, but urged a federal panel of independent investigators to reconcile the disparity.
“Like every other Nigerian,” Mr. Oshiomhole said in a statement by his spokesperson, Peter Okhiria, “the governor is extremely worried about the claims of two federal security agencies, which, no matter what anyone says, at the end of the day, one of the arms must clearly be playing out a script designed to shield the actual killers and/or their sponsors.”
Mr. Oshiomhole said, in the elaborate statement, that while the SSS constantly kept him abreast of the progress of its investigation, the police refused, claiming the hunt for the killers was directed from the headquarters in Abuja.
He said he made personal findings and cross examination on the suspects paraded by the SSS and confirmed them to be the actual killers compared to those submitted by the police.
The arrests by the SSS had introduced another embarrassing dimension after it was clear the suspects wore the same clothes as those arrested months ago in connection with Boko Haram-related killings.
Both agencies said they arrested six persons apiece.
The governor said that after the SSS had informed him earlier of its progress.
The service, at about the end of June, paraded the suspects before him during which he asked questions for 45 minutes about the murder and “they told him who fired the shot, where they stood, who bought the phone and for how much and they also showed him the weapons used and the amount of money they found which was less than fifty thousand naira.”
Mr. Oshiomhole said he was convinced the suspects paraded by the SSS were responsible for killing Mr. Oyerinde
“The suspects also repeated to the Governor the confessions they had made to the SSS that they were the same gang that made an attempt to attack the State Commissioner for Information, Hon Louis Odion at his residence and their account corroborated that of Hon Odion.
“The governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is convinced and impressed that the SSS did their job professionally,” the statement said. “What remained was the motive for the killing, whether it was an armed robbery or assassination.”
Loopholes in police report
After prolonged secrecy, Mr. Oshiomhole said he was informed by the police of the arrest of David Ugolor, an activist, as the alleged mastermind of the killing. He also received briefings from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) heading the investigations, on Friday, August 10, 2012.
“After listening to the briefing, the governor came to the conclusion that there were several inconsistencies in the IPO’s narrative,” the statement said.
One of the inconsistencies saw the police suspects stating that their coordinator had said they would be paid N20 million for killing Mr. Oyerinde
The coordinator, who is also in police custody, confirmed the story, saying that “it was one ‘David’ that contracted him to carry out the operation and that the said ‘David’ had paid N200, 000 out of N20 million agreed between them.”
The gang leader, who identified David Ugolor as the sponsor during an identification parade said Mr. Ugolor called him the morning after the killing to confirm that the job had been done.
The police could not however prove any contact between Mr. Ugolor and the gang leader as claimed
“The DCP said they have the call logs of Rev Ugolor and when Mr. Governor asked if the claim of regular phone contact between the suspect and Rev Ugolor had been established, the DCP said he had received the call log of Rev Ugolor and was yet to verify that of the other suspect who ‘implicated’ him,” Mr. Oshiomhole’s aide said.
“The Governor is surprised that about two weeks after David Ugolor’s arrest, there is no concrete link between him and his accuser. One would have thought that such link would have been established before any arrest is made,” he added.
Mr. Oshiomhole also questioned the police over the alleged payment for the killings.
“The Governor asked the DCP if the N20 million had been paid to the suspects to which, he said no. The Governor also asked if it was possible that a hired killer who had carried out a killing for an agreed sum could subsequently allow over two months’ gap without being paid,” the statement said.
A baffled Mr. Oshiomhole was also told by the police that the suspect could not identify Mr. Ugolor’s residence, while the gang leader also claimed that he knew Mr. Ugolor “through their transactions in foreign exchange.”
The Police wouldn’t comment on the Edo State governor’s comment on its investigation. Frank Mba, Force spokesperson, says he would only react after listening to a tape, or reading the text of Mr. Oshiomhole’s remark.
“It is inappropriate for me to react to what I have not heard or read,” Mr. Mba told PREMIUM TMES via telephone.