Oshiomhole’s aide’s killing: Court orders police to pay N5m damages

Late Olaitan Oyerinde

The Judge condemned the police for disobeying an earlier order.

A High Court in Edo State has ordered the Nigerian Police to pay David Ugolor, a man arrested in connection with the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, N5 million.

The judge, Esther Edigin, gave the order on Friday at a ruling in which she lambasted the police for disobeying an earlier order.

Ms. Edigin had on August 16 ordered the police to release Mr. Ugolor who had been detained without trial since July 16; a ruling the police declined to obey.

“Respect for law and order is the foundation of any society, but when the police moved to disobey court orders, then the society is heading for anarchy,” the judge said. “I make bold to say that the attitude of the police is a dangerous signal and a threat to human rights. This is most unfortunate.’’

Mr. Ugolor had sued the police for violating his fundamental human rights after he was detained without trial for more than 48 hours as permitted by law. He demanded for N500 million from the police, out of which the court approved the N5 million

Police objection ridiculous

In a bid to forestall Friday’s ruling, the police had filed a motion for extension of time within which to release Mr. Ugolor, who was eventually released last week.

Ms. Edigin rejected the police application saying there was no reasonable suspicion to warrant the arrest and detention of Ugolor.

“I find that the respondent’s bid to pull wool over this court’s face has failed. It is an application unknown to law. It lacks merit and appropriately dismissed,” she said.

The judge ruled that the police should have obtained a court order for further detention of Mr. Ugolor. She also ordered the police to desist from further arresting the accused in connection with this matter.

Ugolor still under trial

Ms. Edigin’s ruling, which the police, through their counsel, David Abuo, say they will appeal, is different from a murder charge the police has filed against Mr. Ugolor and other accused.

The murder trial will come up on September 27 at an Edo High Court.

The police insist that Mr. Ugolor, the Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, has a case to answer in connection with the killing of Mr. Oyerinde, the former Principal Private Secretary to Adams Oshiomhole, the Governor of Edo State.

The police and the State Security Service had paraded different suspects in connection with the killing of Mr. Oyerinde.

While the suspects paraded by the SSS admitted to killing Mr. Oyerinde, during a robbery operation, they did not link Mr. Ugolor or mention his name in their confessions. The suspects paraded by the police however mentioned Mr. Ugolor as being their sponsor as claimed that they had gone to the deceased house to specifically kill him.

Mr. Oshiomhole, who has interviewed both sets of suspects and met with the investigating officers insisted that the police had no basis to arrest Mr. Ugolor, as they could not sufficiently link him to the crime.

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