The credibility of Nigeria’s security agencies was again brought into question today as wild accusations and counter-accusations rang out in the public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions looking into the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The governor, in his testimony before the committee, reiterated his position that Mr. Oyerinde was killed by his political opponents. He said that the police deliberately went to arrest innocent people in order to give the impression that they were working, and thereby divert attention from the real culprits. The police, he insisted, are trying to cover up the real criminals who perpetrated the dastardly act.
The Director General of State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpenyong, gave a detailed account of how the service carried out its investigations and arrested its own batch of suspects. DIG Peter Agana and DCP Chris Ezeike testified on behalf of the police, and they sought to fault Governor Oshiomhole’s testimony, describing it as frivolous, baseless and unfounded.
Ezeike said that the police investigation of the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Oyerinde revealed that he had had a problem with his landlord.
He said they were also exploring the politically-motivated killing theory as well as the multiple fatal accidents that involved the convoy of Governor Oshiomhole. The police further insisted that their own suspects are the actual killers of Oyerinde, and that his wife, Funke, was invited to identify the suspects.
The suspects, he said, were taken to the scene of the crime and all of them admitted the role they played in the crime. Ezeike denied that he told anybody that he wanted to meet with the Governor privately on the matter as had been alleged by the Governor. He maintained that the SSS transferred seven suspects to the police, and not the six earlier paraded, and that Lawal Abubakar who was arrested in Kano was not handed over to them. "They (SSS) did not transfer any report either preliminary and concluded, and no single item stolen from the deceased’s house as exhibit was handed over to the police by SSS," he said.
Muhammed Abdullahi, who was the ring leader, confessed that the gun they used was locally-made gun but the SSS maintained that it was a double-barreled gun that was used to commit the crime. The police admitted that the suspects arrested by SSS are actually criminals because they confessed to many crimes they have carried out in Edo State and its environs.