Governor Adams Oshiomhole
The Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ministry of Justice, Edo State, has absolved Rev. David Ugolor, of being the sponsor of the murder of the late Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Oyerinde was murdered last May by unknown gunmen at his residence in Benin City.
Consequently, Ugolor, the Executive Director of African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (AFNEEJ), was arrested following police investigation allegedly linking him with the murder.
But the DPP in Edo State yesterday said no prima facie case was made against Ugolor and advised that he be released if still in custody.
The DPP’s advice, which was signed by Ade Irehovbude, on behalf of the director, was contained in a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police (IG) and dated October 29.
In the letter, the DPP noted that the allegations against Ugolor which was hinged on the confessional statements of Garba Maismari, is trite in law, adding that “in the absence of independent evidence, the confession of an accused person is not admissible evidence against a co-accused.”
It stated that it was evidently incongruous for two of the suspects, Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman, who have been in police custody since April 24 for unlawful possession of caterridges to confess to the murder of Oyerinde that took place on May 4, 2012.
Besides, the DPP added that the cut to size gun and one catridge the suspects confirmed was used for the operation at Oyerinde residence was recovered on April 24, 2012 by the Esigie Police Division.
According to the letter, “If this is alleged to be a weapon used during the robbery incident that took place on May 4, 2012, it is another incongruity.”
It therefore queried how a weapon recovered and in possession of the police be confirmed by suspects to have been used for the commission of the offence?
The DPP however advised that a prima facie case of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and murder is made against Garba Usman, Maismari, Auta Umaru Ali, Moses Asamah Okoro and Usman Adamu who confessed to the crime.
It also said a prima facie case of receiving robbed property be made against Hassan Aliyu Babete and Idris Adulhamid who both made confessional statements.
On Ugolor, the DPP said no prima facie was made against him and ordered that he be released if still in custody, pointing out that the confession of an accused person was not admissible evidence against a co-accused.
In his reaction, Ugolor said the police have no reason for framing him up apart from bringing Maismari to frame him up.
“We have come to a glorious end of the battle to enthrone justice in my case and I thank God almighty that used great citizens to fight oppression in this country.
“For us the case is ended with me, but the battle to set the innocent free who are still held captive and end to culture of impunity among law enforcement officer has just begun. We are launching a campaign for both police and prison reforms in this country,” he said.