The late Olaitan Oyerinde was killed in May.
A Benin Chief Magistrate Court has scheduled Thursday to commence the trial of the suspects who allegedly murdered Olaitan Oyerinde, the former Principal Private Secretary to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. The case comes up at 9 a.m.
The prime suspects include Mohammed Abdullahi, Raymond Origbo, and Chikezie Edeh, identified by the State Security Service, SSS, as the masterminds in the crime; while Saidu Yakubu, Sani Abubakar, and Hassan Bashiru were accused of being buyers of stolen goods from the robbery gang.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the trial of the suspects would set the stage for the formal response of the court to the report of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, which exonerated Benin City-based human rights activist and Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, David Ugolor, of complicity in the gruesome murder.
Officials of the Federal Criminal Investigative Department of the Nigeria Police had, on July 27, arrested Mr. Ugolor, a bosom friend of the slain secretary.
Following the murder incident on May 4, the police had justified the activist’s arrest on grounds that a statement obtained from one of the suspects who “confessed” in detention named one “David” as the mastermind of the murder.
On September 1 the police charged Mr. Ugolor along with eight other suspects in its custody with the crime and arraigned them before a Magistrates’ Court in Oredo, Benin City, before remanding them at Oko Prison pending the advice of the DPP for prosecution.
But the DPP, in its legal advice submitted to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, cleared Mr. Ugolor and one Wilfred Iserhienrhien of any complicity in the crime, while recommending the prosecution of others based on the report of the police and SSS on the crime.
The SSS had on August 1 paraded six suspects in Abuja who confessed to being the masterminds of the crime, different from the ones the police had in its custody.
The DPP had, in a legal advice dated October 29, faulted police claims of the involvement of the duo in the dastardly killing of the governor’s former aide, saying its investigations revealed no “independent evidence” or “prima facie case” against them.
In the report, the DPP also revealed that some of the suspects the police paraded as the killers of late Mr. Oyerinde on May 4 were already in their custody since the April 24 while the gun purportedly used in the killing was actually established to have been in the custody of the Police since that date.