This is the concluding part of the police report on the investigation into the murder of Mr Olaitan Oyerinde, principal secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, presented at the public hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions
STRENGHT OF THIS INVESTIGATION
Recovery of Deceased telephone handset through Forensic information.
Systematic reconstruction from scene to suspects that led to the arrest of all the suspects.
Recovery of face cap of Auta Umaru Ali identified by himself and gang members.
Identification of three suspects out of the four that raided late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s house by Mrs Funke Oyerinde.
Recovery of a single barrel locally made cut to size gun belonging to the gang.
Video capture of the scene reconstruction that revealed the role each suspect played at the scene.
Confessions of the suspects that have been attested to by Superior Police Officers in line with the law and practice.
Uncovering of other crimes namely
Murder of Alhaji Ismaila Aliyu
Attempted Murder of Alhaji Badamasi Saleh and his Deputy.
Involvement of Moses Asamah Okoro in the raiding of Agenebode Police Station in late 2010
Recovering of telephone handset of High Chief (Dr) Vincent Ifada in the house of Garba Usman Maisamari.
Recovery of over 20 telephone handsets from Girei in Adamawa stolen from Benin City.
Recovery of 23 SIM cards from Garba Usman Maisamari’s house.
Recovery of six wrist watches from Garba Usman Maisamari’s house.
Additional information to Police intelligence bank about sources of arms/ammunition to this elaborate gang and identities of other gang members.
ARRAIGNMENT OF SUSPECTS
Arising from this painstaking investigation and based on the quantum of evidence, the suspects were arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court, Benin City on 31st August, 2012. (See Document 9 in Appendix 3 for charge sheets)
Three charge sheets were presented to the court namely=
Charge No. MOR/326c/2012
Charge No. MOR/327c/2012
Charge No. MOR/328c/2012
The Police forwarded Duplicate casefiles with respect to the above charges to the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions for vetting and advice on the 11th of September, 2012 in our letter No. CR: 3100/X/LEG/FGQ/ABJ/VOL.3/123
Surprisingly on the 9th November, 2012, the Edo State DPP rendered advice in a paid advertorial published in the Nation Newspaper claiming it received the duplicate casefile from Oredo Magistrate Court Benin City on the 5th of September, 2012 (See Document No. 10 in Appendix 3)
The controversy in this matter was generated by the unsolicited advice of the Edo State DPP. Even at that, the Edo State DPP posited that six of the ten suspects have cases to answer, he expressed doubts about two suspects based on misplaced facts and discharged two suspects for want of corroborative evidence. The Police had responded to the Advice of the DPP on 19th November, 2012 (See Document No. 11 in Appendix 3)
In response to our letter to the Federal DPP, legal advice was rendered on the 21st of January, 2013 (See Document 12 in Appendix 3)
CASE OF SEVEN SUSPECTS TRANSFERRED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES ABUJA ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER
On or about the 1st of August, 2012, the Department of State Services paraded six suspects in a televised press conference. The SERVICE announced that they arrested the suspects for the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde and stealing from his house.
Similarly, the DG SSS followed up with a letter dated 1st August, 2012 to the Inspector-General of Police and requested the Police to take over the six suspects for prosecution. (See Document 13 in Appendix 3)
On the 23rd of August, 2012, the Department of State Services transferred seven suspects which now included LAWAL Abubakar (See Document 14 in Appendix 3).
The Department of State Services did not transfer ANY CASEFILE be it Original or Duplicate to the Police.
The Department of State Services did not transfer any Investigation Report-be it interim, preliminary or final report to the Police.
The Department of State Services did not handover any complainant, witness or suspect’s statements; enabling documents like search warrants or attestation by investigating officers to the Police.
None of the exhibits transferred by the Department of State Services to the Police related to any of the items stolen from late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s house. One of the victims Adeyinka Oletubo has confirmed this position after viewing the items.
The Police wrote to the Department of State Services requesting for information/interface which may lead to successful investigation but no response. (See Document 15 of Appendix 3)
Police had no choice than to perform its statutory responsibility of Criminal investigation hence a full investigation.
The three suspects identified by the Department of State Services as the suspects who murdered late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde namely Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi, Raymond Onajite Origbo and Edeh Chikezie were variously interrogated.
They admitted being armed robbers who usually operated as a gang of six made up of themselves, one Sani, one Ali alias Smally and one Ishiaka –all at large.
They also admitted to various armed robbery escapades in Benin City promising to take the Police to the locations but denied any involvement in the armed robbery of 4th May, 2012 at No. 65, 2nd Ugbor road, GRA Benin City at the house of late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde.
§ They also admitted that in their operations they were usually armed with three cut to size single barrel guns provided by Ishiaka- a Fulani nomad who is a member of the gang.
Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi posited that when his house was searched, only one hammer, one matchet and two kitchen knives were recovered by Department of State Services operatives and denied knowledge of 1 No Europa Magnum Pump Action gun and 2Nos Russian Double Barrel guns said to have been recovered from him.
§ The suspects claimed that they were never taken to the scene of crime and that the late Comrade Olaitan’s house was shown to them from a Black Berry telephone by their interrogators.
§ Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi, Raymond Origbo Chikezie admitted knowledge of Saidu Yakubu alias IMAM as a Receiver of stolen property at Ring Road Benin City. Raymond Origbo admitted knowledge of Sani Abdullahi Abubakar as a receiver of stolen property especially telephones.
§ Hassan Bashiru admitted being a receiver of stolen property and also admitted knowledge of Sani Abubakar and Lawal Abubakar.
§ Hassan Bashiru admitted that he bought telephone handsets and laptop from one Garba Usman Maisamari and he sold one of the telephone handsets to Lawal Abubakar. Bashiru Hassan also admitted that he had sold several telephone handsets to Hassan Babete Aliyu in the past.
MOVEMENT TO BENIN CITY
The suspects were taken to Benin City on identification of crime locations and checking the credibility of their statements.
Based on the preponderance of evidence adduced in the course of this investigation, the suspects were arraigned in Court at Oredo Magistrate Court 1 on the 1st of November, 2012. They were all remanded in Prison custody. The Duplicate casefiles have been remitted to the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions for vetting and advice. (See Document 16 in Appendix 3)
SPECIFIC RESPONSES TO THE ALLEGATIONS
(i) The petitioners had argued that two of the suspects arrested by the Police in the course of investigation were in Police Custody when Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was murdered. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Suspects Danjuma Musa ‘m’ and Muritala Usman ‘m’ were arrested on the 24th of May, 2012 and not 24th of April, 2012. The duo of Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman were arrested by good Nigerians on the 24th of May, 2012 and handed over to the Divisional Police Officer, Oba Market Police Station Benin City who in turn handed them over to the Special Anti Robbery Squad, Edo State Police Command on the same day for an offence of unlawful possession of cartridges.
In the course of diligent investigation in the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s murder the operatives of the Force CID Abuja took over the suspects on the 27th of June, 2012. The statements made by the two suspects and witnesses who were present during the arrest elucidated this fact. The letter we wrote to the Edo State DPP on 19th November, 2012 stated the date of their arrest clearly and for purposes of emphasis is partly reproduced below:-
W e wish to unequivocally state that the duo of Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman were arrested on the 24th of May, 2012,”REPEAT 24th of May, 2012 AND NOT 24th of April, 2012”. The respective statements they made to the Police contained in the Duplicate case file which the learned DPP vetted contained this fact in pages B5a, B6d and B6f. Furthermore, the statements of eye witnesses to the arrest contained in pages A14 and A15 of the same casefile elucidated this fact. The Police investigation report clearly stated the date of arrest as 24th of May, 2012 in the following paragraphs and pages:-
(i) Paragraph 3.9, page 7
(ii) Paragraph 3.10.9 (x) page 23
(iii)Paragraph 3.10.9 (xi) page 24
(iv)Paragraph 3.10.9 (xxv) page 41
(v)Paragraph 3.10.9 (xxvi) page 45
(vi)Paragraph 4 xxix page 85
We admit a printer’s error in the investigation report where 24/04/12 was typed in page 78 paragraph 4 (viii), line four instead of 24/05/12. We also posit that in no other part of that report did such an error or such a meaning was conveyed. Similarly, we ordinarily thought that the learned DPP was actually vetting the duplicate casefile which included the investigation report and not the investigation report alone and would have taken into consideration the statements made by the suspects, witnesses and all other circumstances/ramifications of the matter before the opinion”.
From the foregoing, it is very clear and obvious that the date of arrest of Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman was 24th of May, 2012. Any other insinuation to the contrary is not only mischievous but frivolous and aimed at diverting attention from the real issues.
(ii)The petitioners also posited that the gun used for the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was earlier used for armed robbery and recovered by the Police. And that by Police record this gun was already in Police custody when the murder took place. Again this is just simplistic and misleading. The four suspects who robbed and murdered Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde namely Danjuma Musa ‘m’, Muritala Usman ‘m’, Auta Umaru ‘m’, Moses Asamah Okoro ‘m’ used three guns for the operation and took away one Double barrel gun from the Deceased’s residence.
In the course of investigation Danjuma Musa ‘m’ told investigation that he usually custodied one locally made cut to size single barrel gun belonging to the gang. He equally stated that this gun was one of the guns they used for the armed robbery operation in Comrade Olaitan’s house.
According to him this gun was recovered by his land lady and handed over to Esigie Police Station Benin City after the landlady’s children stumbled on the gun in the course of their play where he Danjuma Musa hid it. Following the revelations of Danjuma Musa, the said landlady was contacted and she admitted the incidence but posited that she called a Police Corporal who lived nearby and it was the Policeman who recovered the gun to the Police Station. Investigation was extended to Esigie Police Station Benin City where the gun was finally recovered by the investigating team.
The documentation in the crime diary at the Police Station showed that the gun was received on the 24th of April 2012. Our job as Police Investigators is to bring the facts disclosed by investigation to the fore. Our duties cannot include to falsify, alter, change or even forge facts for whatever reasons. We are satisfied that this gun was recovered through the sequential narration of Danjuma Musa and formed part of the arsenal of this gang. Meanwhile the said gun has been forwarded to the Forensic Laboratory for Ballistic examination.
iii We wish to state for purposes of clarity and public records that the assertion by the Edo State DPP in his Legal Advice attached to the Civil Society Organization petition under reference “that he is aware that the casefile of some persons who reportedly made confessional statements have been handed over to the Police by the SSS is false in its entirety”. We challenge him to show proof. Apart from the documents referred to as Documents 13 and 14 in Appendix 3, the Police did not receive any other document from the Department of State Services.
(iv) We also wish to point out that in the same Legal Advice under reference, the DPP had opined that a prima facie case of Conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery and murder is made out against Usman Adamu amongst others. We do not know Usman Adamu and he was never investigated by the Police.
(a)In conclusion, we wish to state that the unfortunate incident of 4th May, 2012 which resulted in the death of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde received an unprecedented attention from the Inspector-General of Police IGP Mohammed Abubakar CFR,FCE,FCPA,FCAI,NPM,mni who is satisfied that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police ‘D’ Department (FCID) and his investigators discharged their responsibilities diligently and with utmost sense of integrity.
The Investigating team displayed quality leadership and gave the assignment their best shots. If the petitioners “believe strongly that there are elements pulling weight to cover the real killers of Comrade Oyerinde” as alleged, they should name them without further delay. Since the petitioners believe that the real killers of Comrade Oyerinde have not been arrested, they should name them. He who asserts, proves same.
(b)In the wake of this avoidable controversy, the Police as an Organization has been disparaged, her Senior Officers maligned, humiliated and embarrassed for carrying out a statutory assignment. This case is not about the Police or the Civil Society Organization. This case is about ensuring that the killers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde are brought to justice. The Criminal justice system requires robust synergy from all stakeholders and all hands must be on deck to ensure that justice is done for both the victims of crime, the State and the suspects.
(c) In the conduct of this investigation, the Police has carried the complainants along at every stage viz Mrs. Funke Oyerinde and Mr. Adeyinka Oletubo. It is therefore very surprising that the restlessness associated with this matter is coming from Quarters other than the persons who reported this matter. Who is crying more than the bereaved!
(d) The scope of this investigation so far was very extensive; the conduct required diligence and commitment, the approach needed integrity; the analysis/documentation required painstaking humility and dedication; the Investigating team displayed these qualities. We must learn in this Country to appreciate what we have –our own-and continuously encourage them. We did not need to be called criminals, we did not need to be dismissed for doing a job that both the Edo State DPP and the Federal DPP have already said has tremendous merit. As mortals, we felt pain but in God we shall always trust.
(e) We also wish to point out that all the Security Agencies in this Country are doing a commendable job towards crime reduction as there is no known crime free society. The Department of State Services by their arrest of seven suspects contributed immeasurably in the fight against crime and criminality. These suspects are by their confessions and follow up investigations carried out by the Police habitual criminals who have terrorized Benin City Metropolis. Police investigation has been able to link them to specific acts of criminality with the locations and victims positively identified. We are satisfied that the evidence disclosed by our investigation will sustain the charges for which they have been arraigned.
(f) The petitioners must always avoid by their comments, utterances, inferences and opinions to put in jeopardy a case that its prosecution in Court is yet to begin. To do so would amount to making them Investigators, Prosecutors and Judges in this matter. By the unnecessary controversy generated in this matter, witnesses are continuously being tampered with through intimidation and inducements, the Judges who will try this matter are reading the controversies in the media and as human beings may form preliminary opinions before trial commences. Legal Advisers to the prosecution are already playing visible roles as Defence Attorneys while Defence Attorneys just listen and laugh. This can only lead us to an unfortunate exercise of Recycling criminals through the intentional or inadvertent conspiracy of the Elite.
(g) Finally, we have by our transparency compromised the identity of most of our witnesses, victims, investigators and other characters in this investigation including classified documents. THIS IS IN REALIZATION OF THE FACT THAT PARLIAMENT ALL OVER THE WORLD HOLD THE KEY TO QUALITY OVERSIGHT THAT REVEALS TRUTH AND MAKE TRUTH SACRED. It is our plea Mr. Chairman that these victims, witnesses and investigators be protected within the privileges inherent in your powers.