A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana has called on the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Mohammed Bello Adoke to publicly apologise to the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the misleading statement that the office of the Attorney-General does not give legal advice to the police with regards to state offences.
Speaking at the first year Anniversary of the murder of late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, Principal Private Secretary of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, which took place at the Imaguero College, Benin City, Falana said, “while the case of murder is a state offence the constitutional duty to protect the lives of every person in Nigeria, Nigerians and foreigners alike is binding on the federal government.”
He disclosed that at a well attended ceremony in Benin, April 7th 2012 a powerful member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling party openly threatened the life of the Edo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Louis Odion without any provocation of whatever the big man said, “ you will see what will happen to you”.
“Mr Odion quietly lodged a complaint with the police, but the complain was treated in a cavalier manner as no charge was preferred against the criminal suspect who had threatened to violate the fundamental right of a citizen to life. Regrettably the Edo State Government left the matter in the hands of the compromised security apparatus.”
“With reference to the fellow who threatened the live of Mr Louis Odion last year, should have its case reopen to prove that the culture of impunity is not acceptable in the new Edo State,” he noted.
“In the case of Edo State, the man who gave us a sign that people were going to be attacked should also be arrested and prosecuted. In attempt to defend the lives of our people we must be prepared to end the culture of impunity and the official policy of granting amnesty to those who engage in violent crimes in the society instead of relying on the police to investigate serious crimes, Edo State Government should be more proactive.
“Comrade I advice that we should have a coroners law in Edo State for the investigation unnatural deaths as it is the case in Lagos state. As we are marking the first anniversary of the assassination of our comrade we should remember all those unarmed citizens who have been extra judicially murdered by the security agencies and other criminally minded individuals in the society,” he added.
He said he has asked the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to reopen the case into the assassination of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige who was killed in his home on December 23, 2001.
Tears however flowed freely as tributes poured in for the late Olaitan Oyerinde who was shot dead by assailants in his Benin City home on May 4, last year.
In his tributes, Comrade Oshiomhole said, “We have a duty to keep the memory of Olaitan alive. Olaitan is a man of uncommon vision and clarity, he is a very selfless worker.
“It is impossible for me to find a replacement, if there is anything happening in any section of the civil society, Olaitan will draw my attention and if possible he will suggest what is to be done, so it is impossible to find a replacement. If it is impossible for me to have a replacement it is impossible for the children to have another father and for the wife to have another husband,” he noted.
According to the Governor, “I am happy that one year on the fighting spirit is on and people have asked me why I talk in this way and manner. Some say I don’t talk like a governor when it comes to Olaitan’s matter. How is a man supposed to talk when a man is mourning? Is my office and indeed the life of any Nigerian as important as the life of a Nigerian.
“I am conscious of the fact that I have tenure at best eight years, the next position is ex- and we must continue to remind ourselves that today we are here and tomorrow we are no more. Some time I ask myself should we bother to talk about Olaitans investigation because as we have seen few weeks back the former Inspector General house was allegedly attacked,” he added.
Comrade Oshiomhole said, when you allow political influence to influence your professional duties, you will be contributing to the destruction of the rule of law, adding that “once the rule of law is no more enforceable the law enforcement agencies are compromised, the celebration of democracy is basically the celebration of the rule of law. As central to the rule of law is the capacity of the state, through the security agencies to identity and prosecute criminals regardless of their status.”
The Governor appealed to Edo people never to allow rascals to take over the reins of government, noting that, “If we do that at all levels Nigeria will change.”
The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Comrade Abdul Waheed Umah who was represented by Comrade Isa Aremu said the cowardly murder of Olaitan was a big blow to the Edo State government and labour organizations.
“He was known for hard work, diligent and intelligent. His last support and unity was during the last delegate conference in Asaba. It is time all Nigerians rally round to unravel the death of Olaitan,” he added.
The National President of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Peter Esele who described the late Olaitan as a man who makes things happen behind the scene disclosed that, “we will continue to celebrate him every year because of his conviction and doggedness.
Others who paid tributes were Comrade Didi Adodo, his former classmate, Barrister Rufus Olanrewaju among others.
His widow in an emotion-laden speech said her husband did not die and that his spirit lives on. She said Olaitan’s killers will never know peace for depriving her children of their father.