Oyerinde: Judge Slams Police, SSS for Shoddy Handling



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Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Lawal Gummi, has described as embarrassing the parade of  two different sets of suspects by the police and the State Security Services in the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the late Principal Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Justice Gummi , while speaking at a conference on speeding up criminal justice project in the FCT, expressed concerns that the conduct of the two agencies might have bungled the case.

He canvassed inter-agency coordination in investigations and prosecution of criminal cases in the country.

The FCT Chief Judge said, “The recent case of the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Secretary to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, leaves us with a bad taste in the mouth.

“It was a bewildering case of one murder, two government agencies, and different culprits.

“The police and the State Security Service, the two security agencies investigating the murder, paraded two different sets of suspects, a development that has set off speculation that investigation into the murder was most likely bungled.

“While the Edo Police Command paraded some suspects, including a human rights activist, the SSS flaunted an entirely different set of suspects (which it has labeled as armed robbers) at its Abuja headquarters.

“Is this kind of embarrassing scenario possible if we had effective coordination between the police and SSS?”

Gummi insisted that lack of effective coordination breeds corruption and inefficiency in the criminal justice system.

The Chief Judge specifically spoke of the negative effects of an ongoing dispute between the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions over the power to prosecute certain types of cases.

“My recent visit to the Kuje Prison brought me face-to-face with some unfortunate realities which can be overcome if only all agencies involved in the administration of justice are made to work as a team.

“It was clear to me from that visit that there is an ongoing dispute between the police and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution over who has the authority to prosecute certain types of cases. Also, no one has a complete record of the cases being prosecuted by the other.

Gummi also expressed reservations at the ‘bad-blood ‘between prosecutors and the courts.

Also speaking at the event, the Director General of the Legal Aid Council, Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel, said the LAC had only 250 lawyers, a significant improvement from 80 counsel in 2011, but still far lower than the staff strength of its South African counterpart, which employs 2,500 salaried lawyers.

“It is very obvious that our capacity in terms of numbers is not enough; in FCT we have just 45 lawyers,” she said.

Source: Punch

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