Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde
The controversy and verbal altercations between the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke over the failure of the state to apprehend killers of Olaitan Oyerinde leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
On the one hand, it showcases concern in some quarters that murderers and assassins appear to be beyond the arms of the law. Related to this, on the other hand is the crass incompetence of law enforcement agencies to perform their duties of protecting lives and property; and to bring criminals to book.
The thorny issue between the public officers was the manner the Federal Government is handling investigation into the murder of Oyerinde, who was Private Secretary to the governor. The feistiness of the altercation almost degenerated into fisticuffs at the meeting of the National Council of State, Nigeria’s highest advisory body.
Oyerinde was murdered several months ago in his home, and there has been no serious clue on his killers. But he was only one of dozens, including public officers and prominent politicians, who have been so killed without their killers being found or punished.
Ultimately, the controversy underscores the cavalier attitude of government to the sanctity of life and its sacred responsibility to protect it; a telltale of its lackadaisical attitude to security of lives and administration of criminal justice in the country.
While the governor was bothered about the nonchalant attitude of the law enforcement agents in the way investigation is being conducted, the federal attorney general felt that whatever lapses there are should be blamed on the Edo State attorney general.
The open battle at the Villa was all about making the government see the need to value the lives of its citizens as it obtains elsewhere and to exhibit necessary passion when a life is lost. It is unacceptable that innocent lives are regularly taken by assassins without any hope that the perpetrators of the dastardly act would ever get apprehended.
Strange enough, government is never ashamed of its regular failure to deliver on its promise to apprehend the killers. And so, those behind high profile assassinations involving the then attorney general of the federation, Chief Bola Ige, a gubernatorial candidate, Funso Williams, party stalwarts Marshall Harry and Aminosoari Dikibo, to mention a few, were never apprehended let alone prosecuted.
It is bad enough that such murders were allowed to happen with ease; it is worse that no culprits are ever caught thereafter. With this established pattern, killers have nothing to fear since it is almost certain that they will never be caught.
Apparently, this scenario informed Oshiomhole’s concern over the murder of his aide. He believes, like many other Nigerians that Oyerinde’s murder was one assassination too many and that it was possible to burst the crime with a little commitment or sincerity on the part of the law enforcement officers.
His fulmination at the presidential villa was therefore triggered by despondency and frustration arising from the shoddy investigation of the crime. To that extent, his indignation cannot be faulted. Indeed, more Nigerians should express resentment at killings around the country.
Undoubtedly, the conduct of the police in the matter is disappointing, justifying the lack of public trust in the organisation. Equally worrisome is that it is not in a hurry to turn away from its old insensitive and lacklustre ways of doing things in spite of remonstrance about its conduct and strategy. Why would the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) refer a matter that ordinarily should be prosecuted by the state to the federal attorney general? Was his action due to ignorance, or deliberate to stall prosecution of the culprits?
As if to advertise the deficiency and unreliability of the security apparatus, two sister agencies that claimed to have investigated the murder came up with different set of suspects. The suspects paraded by the State Security Service (SSS) were different from those paraded by the police, leaving Nigerians utterly bewildered. That should be embarrassing enough to the government.
That the same police seemingly did not know who should handle a murder case between the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Attorney General of a state justifies the charge of incompetence and insincerity by Oshiomhole, which led to the diatribe between him and the AGF.
Embarrassing also is that the SSS had to be openly involved in crime investigation, against the known principle that it operates behind the scene.
Equally despicable is the conduct of the AGF who chose to play the ostrich in a matter as crucial as investigating and prosecuting a murder case involving a Nigerian. If a matter that falls under the purview of the state AG is referred to him for whatever reason, shouldn’t he as the chief law officer of the federation advise the agency concerned appropriately?
Is it not his duty as the chief law officer of the federation to ensure that government’s business is conducted in accordance with the dictates of the constitution, which distributes power vertically and horizontally?
Did it not occur to him that time was of the essence since delay, as it is said, defeats equity? If at all he noticed any lapse on the part of Edo State government, which may jeopardize the conduct of the investigation, did he have to wait till the Council of State meeting before bringing this to the attention of the state government? Yes, the AGF needs to fight, but not against Oshiomhole; he should pick the fight against the killers of Oyerinde and those who make it difficult to apprehend the killers.
Government should step up action in the investigation of the murder and every other similar case. The country cannot continue to treat matters of the lives of Nigerians with disdain and levity. What would be the fate of ordinary Nigerians if investigation into such high profile murders as that of Oyerinde is handled so loosely?
Source: The Guardian
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