Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) has raised the alarm that the Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, is desperately trying to stop the trial of former Chairman of Asaritoru Local Government of the state for the murder of one Smart Sobrekon.
Addressing journalists yesterday evening, Aguma said Arase had on two occasions tried to stop the trial of Flag-Amachree by attempting to withdraw charges of murder preferred against him.
He said following the failed attempts by the IG, the family and relatives of the accused had rained incessant attacks on his person and other officers of the state judiciary.
Aguma said the offence for which Flag-Amachree was charged happened in early 2015 when neither he (Aguma) nor Governor Nyesom Wike had assumed office as attorney general and governor respectively.
He said the police had concluded its investigation and established a prima facie case of murder against Flag-Amachree and consequently charged him to court. He therefore expressed surprise at the desperation of the inspector general of police to withdraw charges against him.
He said: “I want to make it categorically clear that I am merely conducting and carrying out my duties as constitutionally enshrined I. section 211 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It empowers the Attorney General, not the Inspector General of Police or any policeman, under any guise or any other Nigerian, no matter how highly placed, to constitute, continue and discontinue proceedings under criminal proceedings.
“The Federal Attorney General has those powers with regards to federal offences and the state Attorney General has those powers with regards to state offences. Both Attorneys General do not in any manner howsoever share these powers with any police officer. Legal decisions are binding on them. I am sure most IGs, of late, have been or claimed to be lawyers. So they will be aware of these provisions and so they should act in accordance with them.
“With specific reference to the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree case, the matter is currently pending at High Court 12, Port Harcourt and we are in the process of having bail hearing in Port Harcourt. Now, the story out there is that he may be a victim of a witch-hunt or he is being incarcerated unlawfully or that there is some form of vindictiveness in what is happening to him. All such insinuations are false.”
He said the Magistrate Court directed that the case file be sent to the office of the director of public prosecution (DPP) for advice, adding that the office of the DPP merely acted on the police report on the matter as contained in the case file.
He narrated: “The police report from this case file, dated April 20, 2016 is signed by DCP Yahaya S. Abubakar, who is the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Port Harcourt. The report from the police on this made was made on April 13, 2015 because the murder for which he was charged occurred on April 11, 2015.
“On April 11, 2015 when the young man was murdered, I was not the attorney general; Nyesom Wike was not the governor.
The statements of the witnesses were taken when that report was made. The only witness whose statement was not taken was Ojukaye Flag-Amachree. Of course, we all know why. The police was helpless; they could do nothing about it. That was why they did not obtain his statement.