The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has reopened criminal investigation case on allegations of forgery against the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, and some leaders of the party in Delta State.
The renewed action of the IGP followed PREMIUM TIMES report on forgery of official documents, which falsely declared Christopher Anirah dead in order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) substitute him as the Sapele/Okpe/Uwvie Federal Constituency candidate of APC with Gibson Akporehe.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported how Fave Sewali, a deputy commissioner of police was transferred from his initial post at Edo State Police Command to Lagos for daring to invite Mr. Oyegun for questioning when Mr. Anirah (the person declared dead) petitioned the police.
Mr. Sewali’s transfer by IGP temporarily stalled investigation into the case.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the case has now been referred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja by the IGP for “thorough investigation before prosecution of the persons involved”.
A source at the police department, who preferred anonymity, said Mr. Anirah was invited to the FCID to give his statement, revealing that police had begun investigation into the matter and the APC national chairman was invited for questioning.
“You don’t worry, we working on the matter. When we conclude our investigation, the public will be told [about the outcome],” said the source.
When contacted for comment, Mr. Anirah also confirmed that he had honoured the invitation of the FCID to give statement.
Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, neither answered nor returned phone calls and text messages sent to him.
FAILED SETTLEMENT DEAL
PREMIUM TIMES can confirm a settlement plan was initiated by the governorship candidate of the party in Delta State, Emerhor Otega, to settle Mr. Anirah to withdraw his case.
The settlement plan included the condition that the APC would write INEC to state that the party was misled into declaring Mr. Anirah dead; payment of specified amount of money be made and that Mr. Anirah would cease to pursue the matter in court and withdraw it from the police.
Mr. Anirah however confirmed offer of settlement proposed by Mr. Otega but said the plan however failed as the parties could not agree on terms as the conditions were not “pleasant”.
Although the petitioner admitted collecting the sum of N2 million from Mr. Otega, he said the money was part of what was due to him as the candidate of the party not part of the settlement.
When contacted, Mr. Otega said he met with Mr. Anirah in order to broker the matter. “I have been having discussions with Anirah on a way to settle a matter that is purely a party affair! He agreed to terms of settlement which were reduced to writing. He accepted and collected part payment in advance in form of a cheque which he cleared.
“On the day of execution of the agreement, he reopened negotiations for a higher amount. We therefore suspended the discussion to allow him make up his mind as it was beginning to look like blackmail.
“I am involved because I am the leader of the party in Delta State and cannot allow anybody to drag the name of the party down. So we believe that we have responsibility to bring everybody to the table, put the matter behind us and move on as a party.
“The party does not owe him. If there was money for the constituency, another candidate must have collected the money. I volunteered from my own pocket to give him money,” Mr. Otega said.