Oyerinde: AGF writes House, says I was never confused

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Thursday wrote a letter to the House of Representatives denying allegations that he was confused on how to handle the prosecution of the murder of late Olaitan Oyerinde, former Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

A lawyer representing the office of the AGF, Thompson Olatigbe on Wednesday told the House of Representative’s committee on public petition that the office of the Attorney General of the Federation is yet to identify suspects in the murder of Mr Oyerinde.

He had specifically told the committee that the hands of the office of the AGF is tied with respect to the case as the investigations conducted by both the police and the State Security Service produced different suspects in the matter.

However, in a swift reaction to this submission, Mr Adoke wrote in the letter to the House “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 the State Security Service 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 the State Security Service, 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 been handled by appropriate authorities in Edo State.”

The Minister said he was “shocked, embarrassed and utterly disappointed by the representations reportedly allegedly made” on his behalf by Mr. Olaitigbe and that he has “instituted an internal investigation to unravel the mystery and appropriate measures will be taken to discipline any officer found wanting in this deliberate propagation of falsehood.”

The House committee is probing a petition against the police on alleged complicity and improper investigation of the murder of the late principal private secretary.

During the hearing, Governor Oshiomole explained why he believed the Police were not professional in their investigation of the case. The committee then took presentations from officials of the two security agencies – the police and the DSS – both of which have suspects in custody for the same crime.

Oshiomhole Dissolves Edo State Civil Service Commission

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has ratified the dissolution of the state Civil Service Commission as recommended by the state House of Assembly.

In a statement by the governor’s Chief of Staff, Patrick Obahiagbon, the government said: “it is notified for the information of the general public that the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has approved the immediate dissolution of the Edo State Civil Service Commission, consequent upon the resolution of the Edo State House of Assembly.

“The former Chairmen and members of the Civil Service Commission are hereby directed to hand over all government property in their possession to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

“The Governor wishes the Chairman and members of the dissolved Civil Service Commission well in their future endeavours.”

Police Killed My Aide – Oshiomhole

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has accused the Nigerian Police of being responsible for the assassination of his Special Adviser and Personal Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde.

The Late Olaitan Oyerinde, former Special Adviser and Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole

Mr Oshiomhole, who was speaking on Thursday in Abuja during the launching of the new code of conduct for the Nigerian police, said both the assassin and the weapon used to murder the late Oyerinde were in police detention as at the time the assassination was carried out.

The governor said, “The man, who was involved in the murder according to the record of the police including the entry made by a DPO (Divisional Police Officer) in a police station, was already under police detention at the time my private secretary was murdered.

“The weapon that was used for the murder was used for armed robbery earlier, recovered by the police and under police custody at the time my secretary was murdered.

“So, the man who murdered my secretary was in police custody; the gun he used was in police custody and this is the findings of the police. The only conclusion that can be reached is that the police ordered the killing of my private secretary.

Mr Oshiomole, who was visibly moved to tears called for the investigation of the Deputy Inspector General of police in charge of criminal investigation and possible dismissal if he is found culpable in the death of late Oyerinde.

The former aide to Mr Oshiomhole was shot and killed in front of his wife and children at his residence in Benin City by suspected assassins.

Oshiomhole Sacks Permanent Secretary, Seals off Benin Museum

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has approved the immediate retirement of the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, H. A. Ikhelowa for dereliction of duty.

The Governor also ordered the immediate sealing of the Museum in the state capital and arrest of the Manager over illegal operation and non-maintenance of the ground.

The Governor’s approval for the retirement of the Permanent Secretary is contained in a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Julius Ihonvbere.

The letter dated 4 January 2013 also approved the immediate suspension of Nicholas Osemwengie, Acting General Manager, Edo State Waste Management Board and the Director-in-charge of Street Lights in the Edo State Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities, Ejemai Martins.

According to the letter, their cases have been referred to the Edo State Civil Service Commission for further action.

The governor’s took these actions after an inspection of some projects in Benin City, the state capital on Friday where he saw heaps of refuse in parts of the city and people displaying wares on the walkways and roads.

During his inspection of the Museum ground, Mr Oshiomhole expressed dissatisfaction with the heaps of refuse left by fun-seekers at the place.

He said the manager of the Museum sublet the place for business without the government’s authority.

He also ordered the arrest of a woman found cooking on sensitive equipment connected to the water fountain at the Museum.

During his inspection of the Oba Market road, Mr Oshiomhole ordered the instant seizure of wares displayed on the walkways and the road by traders and directed the immediate evacuation of dirt which littered the road.

Oshiomhole Signs N149.5 Billion 2013 Budget Into Law

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole on Friday, signed the N149.5 billion Appropriation Bill for 2013 into law.

The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole

Mr Oshiomhole, who commended the leadership of the State House of Assembly for the speedy passage of the bill, said the assembly’s alteration of the original estimate added value to the final approval.

The governor, in November, presented a budget estimate of N150.45 billion to the house for consideration and approval.

“We acknowledge that the Assembly scrutinised and altered the original document because what I am signing is exactly not the same document we proposed to the House.

“I will say that it is a clear demonstration of the essence of separation of powers and that the document is in fact much better.

“It also goes to show that the Assembly is not a rubber stamp but one that has added value to the original proposal,’’ the governor said insisting that the quick passage of the budget would enable his administration commence infrastructure development, especially road construction in 2013.

“With the passage, the executive will have no excuse not to commence work in earnest in 2013.

“And the challenge for us now, is to be a little more aggressive to realise the revenue projection aspect of the budget,” Mr Oshiomhole said.

Aside the federal allocation, the governor explained that the state government should be able to improve its local revenue generation profile through the land use charge.

He promised the House leadership that his administration would not disappoint the people as government would intervene in all sectors of the economy.

“After four years, we will now work at a faster pace to achieve greater level of efficiency and cut that level of wastages for the people to get quality value for their money,’’ he said.

Auchi attack: Oshiomhole says Police must account for their incompetence

The Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to investigate how criminals sacked the Police Area Command and Divisional Police Station, freed inmates and held Auchi town in Edo North hostage for over three hours with no response from the police.

The governor, who made the call during a visit to the paramount ruler of Auchi, said there is need for the police to do soul-searching to see if there are no men within the police who did not compromise security.

“To think that a police station with arms could be attacked and the police could not gun down one criminal gives cause for worry,” Mr Oshiomhole said.

He continued: “I was not happy that the police had to park the Armoured Personnel Carrier behind the Area Commander’s office instead of being at strategic locations in Auchi town. It shows that the police are not using the funds given to them maximally. I am not impressed because the APC ought to be in operation.

“The fact that the APC was packed at the back of the station and bombed there means that it was not put to maximum use. It is unacceptable. They should begin to account for their negligence of duty, incompetence or both. Until we begin to do that, this lamentation will continue and criminals will continue to operate and demystify the state and make us look like a collection of mushrooms that can be consumed with minimal efforts.

“I believe the police will have to do investigation to reassure us that we are safe. The fact that they can attack two police formations and do that kind of damage shows the need to revisit the role of policing and their operational order,” the governor said.

The governor, however, praised the Army for the five soldiers who repelled the attack and killed one of the bandits who attacked and attempted to bomb a private residence where the soldiers reside.

“The point has been made that if you attack a military base you will pay a huge price. For me, that is a little relief that one of the bandits was killed by the soldiers in the sense that his identity will help us to assist the security agencies in their investigations,” he noted.
The governor expressed shock at the sheer guts of the criminals, saying that investigations being carried out by the security agencies will help to unravel what happened.

“The security agencies are investigating and I have no reason to believe that their investigation will not lead to positive outcome that will help us to identify these criminals. But much more important is to learn the right lessons from the incident to take security issues more seriously than has been the case.”

He continued: “I am troubled by what I saw, but we are not giving up. The criminals cannot win; they must be defeated and brought to justice. Let reassure your highness that the irreducible responsibility of any government is to protect lives and property. If government cannot protect lives and property, then we are in trouble.

“I accept responsibility as the Governor of Edo State for what happened. We have a duty to contribute in ensuring security. I do hope that you appreciate that what has happened is not because of wont of efforts, it is in spite of efforts.”

The Otaru of Auchi, Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III, while responding to the issues raised by Mr Oshiomhole, stressed the need for security agencies to demonstrate the will and capacity to carry out their jobs.

The robbers also attacked military quarters but were repelled by the five soldiers in the premises while each side suffered one casualty.

2015 Election: Nigerians will make the right choices –Gov. Fashola

Lagos state Governor Babatunde Fashola has expressed optimism that the 2015 election will be based on issues, a clear departure from the past trend where electorates cast their votes on the ethnicity and other primordial sentiments.

Governor Fashola in an exclusive interview with our Edo State correspondent in Benin City was reacting to comments by Edo State governor on the voting pattern of Nigerians in previous elections.

Fashola said the recently concluded presidential election in the United States can be replicated in 2015 as Nigerians are gradually declaring their stand against bad governance through their votes evidenced by the number of incumbencies that lost elections recently.

IBB used and dumped me – Omoruyi

Former Director General of the Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), Omo Omoruyi, was on Monday flown abroad following his deteriorating health.

Former Director General of the Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), Omo Omoruyi

But in a parting shot, the political scientist lamented that former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, who appointed him as Director General of the CDS, and some of his friends had abandoned him to his fate.

Mr Omoruyi was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007, but his condition improved after receiving treatment in the United States.

Speaking in Benin City, the Edo State capital before travelling to the US, the professor appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerians to come to his aid.

He said, “I have been used and dumped, especially by Babangida. Some politicians who don’t like me were also preventing the President from giving me assistance, after I sent a message about my health predicament to him.

“My cancer is back and I don’t know how it will end. Governor Adams Oshiomhole has graciously come to my aid again. He is the one making it possible for me to commence my second journey.

“In my book, My journey Back To Life, that is journey number one. It will appear I am starting a second journey, and how this second journey will end, I don’t know. I am going to hospital in the United States to commence a new treatment plan and that treatment plan, how it will end, I do not know.

“In the book, I said in the life of a cancer survivor, there are two fears. Fear number one is the fear of a recurrence, that the cancer could come back. Fear number two is that one could die.

“IBB abandoned me. I let him know about the first journey. He did not help me, not even one kobo so I cannot go to him for this second journey. In the first journey I did not hear from him. I sent him a text message that I am going back to the hospital. I have also alerted some of my good people.

“I am going back to the hospital. President Goodluck Jonathan should help me. I cried to him through Chief Edwin Clark. There is vindictiveness in the land. I have paid my dues in this country and the country is unfair to me. What did I not do?”

Edo Assembly dissolves LG councils

The Edo State House of Assembly on Monday dissolved the transition committees of the 18 local government councils in the state ordering the Chairmen to hand over to the Head of Personnel Management (HPM).

The dissolution is sequel to a matter of public urgent importance moved by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) member representing Egor constituency, Paul Ohonbamu and seconded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member representing Esan North East Constituency II, Emma Okoduwa.

The Speaker of the House, Uyi Igbe ordered the transitional committee executives to return all properties within their possession to the Head of Services at the various councils before the end of work on Monday saying the dissolution was timely as transition committee chairmen have been in office for over two years now.

The democratically elected council administration in the state was dissolved in 25 October 2010 by Governor Adams Oshiomhole and was replaced by an adhoc “Transition committee”.

PHCN Privatization Bid: Governors had more than one avenue to protest

Looking at the privatization of the power sector, the radar was on the Benin PHCN distribution companies as it faced serious criticisms from governors Oshiomhole, Fayemi and Uduaghan all echoed their dissatisfaction as the entire process was not transparent, an allegation the technical committee chairman of the National  Council on Privatization; Peterside Atedo was quick to respond to.

Olubunmi Ajayi; a specialist in infrastructure planning and financing said the governors had other avenues where they can air their grievances and they didn’t take to the other options like speaking to the President Goodluck Jonathan before taking to the newspapers.

Watch interview for more details.

Peterside says no winner yet for Benin Disco

The Chairman of the Technical Committee on power sector reforms, Atedo Peterside has denied allegation of corruption in the privatisation of the power sector by governors of Delta, Edo and Ekiti states.

The governors had on Thursday rejected the announcement of Vigeo Power Distribution as the successful bidder for the Benin Distribution Company by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The states are investors in the Southern Electricity Distribution Company which lost out in the bidding process.

Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State insisted that the process that led to the emergence of Vigeo Consortium lacks transparency.

However, briefing newsmen on the privatization process in Lagos, Mr Peterside said the allegation of fraud by Misters Oshiomhole, Fayemi and Uduaghan were pre-emptive as the Disco has not been handed to any of the bidders.

He said: “The 3 Governors appeared to be making their “complaint” because they feared that the Southern Electricity Distribution Company Consortium (Southern Consortium), which they favoured, might be edged out of the race to be declared as preferred bidder for Benin Disco by Vigeo Power Consortium (Vigeo). Obviously they presumed the latter to be the likely winner based on the outcome of the televised Commercial Bid Opening Ceremony which took place in Abuja on Tuesday 16th October, which event I presided over.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the NCP has not even declared a result yet and so no consortium has been announced as being the preferred bidder for any of the 11 Discos in Nigeria. At the end of the Commercial Bid Opening Ceremony, I explained that we still had to subject all the bids to a “material consistency/feasibility test” before making recommendations to the NCP.”

Mr Peterside, who said his team needed to clarify on the four allegations made by the governors, noted that “Southern Consortium is the only one of the 16 consortia that participated in the bid opening to have submitted multiple commercial bids for the same Disco.

“Their envelope contained two different commercial bids, both of which were signed by a Mr. Matthew Edevbie. The first bid was dubbed the ‘primary’ bid, while the other was dubbed an ‘alternate’ bid.”

He added that the alleged fraud was “a clear contravention of the Request for Proposal, RFP. We did not make a big issue of this on live TV because both the primary and the alternate bids fell below the bid submitted by Vigeo, and so neither bid would alter Southern Consortium’s ranking on the large screen. Instead, this matter was brought to the attention of the Technical Committee of NCP, which considered the breach and made recommendations to the NCP.”

Edo state commissioner resigns to join Chevron

The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has accepted the resignation of Hon Commissioner for Environment and Public Utilities, Clem Agba.

This is to enable him return to his employment with Chevron which had granted him leave of absence.

A statement signed on Sunday by the Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Louis Odion, said the leave of absence granted Mr Agba by Chevron ended last week.

Mr Agba will resume in a new office at Chevron as Manager, Community Procurement Operations.

Before joining the Mr Oshiomhole’s administration in 2008, Mr Agba was Senior Contracts Advisor to Facilities Engineering to the oil company.

While wishing the former Commissioner for Environment and Public Utilities well in his new assignment, Mr Oshiomhole expressed appreciation for his “robust contributions to the state in the last four years.”

Before his stint at the Environment and Public Utilities Ministry, Mr Agba briefly served as Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Housing.

Mr. Odion quoted the governor as saying that “While Mr Agba always showed uncommon enthusiasm to work, perhaps most outstanding was his role in the design and execution of the flood and erosion-control programme of our administration”

Mr Oshiomhole thanked Chevron for releasing Mr Agba to serve his home state, adding that “it’s my hope that this great oil company will still be magnanimous enough to avail us of Clem’s prodigious skills if the need arises in future.”