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.