NIGERIA: I can’t prosecute Oyerinde’s murder suspects – Adoke

Late Olaitan Oyerinde

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr.  Mohammed Adoke, SAN, said, yesterday, that he was not responsible for the prosecution of those suspected to have murdered Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, former Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

Mr. Adoke’s position, which had introduced a new twist to the unresolved high- profile murder,  in which Oshiomhole had alleged complicity at the highest level, was contained in a letter by the minister to the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions,  which re-opened the matter on Wednesday, in Abuja.

Mr. Adoke aligned with the police on who has the powers to investigate murder between the police and Department of State Security, DSS, which came out with conflicting investigation reports on the murder suspects.

The AGF, in the letter, said: “My attention had been drawn to the representations made by Mr. O.T. Olaitigbe, Deputy Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation, on behalf of my office and the Federal Ministry of Justice at the Public Hearing organised by your Committee on February 27, 2013 on the alleged complicity and improper investigation in the murder of Oyerinde Olaitan, an aide to the Edo State Governor.

“It has been widely reported in the electronic and print media that Mr. Olaitigbe while making his presentation to the Committee, stated among other things, that the Ministry of Justice was confused as a result of the investigation reports it had received from the Nigeria Police Force and DSS,  which appeared to have indicted different sets of suspects for the alleged murder of Oyerinde and that the Ministry could not proceed further with the prosecution of the suspects because of the need to harmonise the two reports.

“I wish to completely disassociate myself from the comments purportedly made on my behalf by Mr. Olaitigbe, as the comments were at best, a figment of his imagination and very far from the truth.

“Mr. Olaitigbe was under firm instructions to inform the Committee that: (a)  the Federal Ministry of Justice had examined the powers of DSS as provided by          Section 3 of the National Security Act, Cap. N.74 LFN,  2004 and the powers of the Nigeria Police Force as    provided by section 4 of the Police Act Cap. P.19 LFN, 2004 and had come to the reasoned conclusion that the power to investigate crimes of the nature under consideration (murder) resides with the Nigeria Police  Force while the power to gather intelligence lies  with DSS, and

“(b) murder, the offence allegedly committed by the  suspects is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the states in the federation. The Criminal Procedure Act, Cap., C. 38 LFN, 2004 is very clear on this matter. The Federal Ministry of Justice therefore, has no power to   prosecute murder cases as murder is a state offence committed against state law and that the matter was  already being handled by appropriate authorities in Edo State.”

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