- We are innocent of murder, Oyediran insists
Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Senate Committee Chairman of Foreign and Domestic Debts, Sen. Shehu Sanni, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo and other civil rights campaigners have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a fresh probe into the murder of former Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF), Chief Bola Ige.
The rights activists called for fresh probe at an annual symposium the Bola Ige Centre for Justice organised in honour of the late at the Lagos Airport Hotels, Ikeja yesterday.
At the symposium attended by hundreds of politicians, lawyers and rights campaigners among others, Sanni urged the Buhari government to urgently open up fresh probe into the murder of Ige so that justice could be done.
He explained that there “is a strong evidence of state’s participation in Ige’s murder on the fact that the suspects were shielded and promoted. Keyamo’s narration is a better evidence to open up fresh probe in the matter.”
The lawmaker explained that it was not too late for the government “to institute fresh probe in the murder of Ige. If we do not do it, the spirit of Ige will continue to hunt Nigeria until justice is done.”
Sanni lamented that it had almost be the pattern that whenever a high profile murder was committed, the police would be serious only for them to cool down after the attention of the media in the case had waned.
He also said the police would always parade innocent criminals in their prisons as suspect in the murder in order to deceive the public that they are working, stressing that it was glaring that the police and the government then fully participated in the murder of Ige as evidence had shown.
Sanni assured that when the Senate was back from recess, he would sponsor a motion on the floor of the upper chamber to pressurise the government of Buhari to open fresh probe in the murder of Ige.
Also at the symposium, Keyamo, who played key roles in unraveling what led to Ige’s murder, provided vivid account of state’s complicity in the murder of the late attorney-general, thus calling for a fresh probe.
Keyamo narrated what happened immediately after Ige’s murder and how Olugbenga Adebayo (a.k.a Fryo) opened up on how the murder was planned, fingering Iyiola Omisore, who was the Deputy Governor of Osun State then.
After two journalists brought Fryo to him with all his confession documented, Keyamo said the police which had earlier declared him as wanted as the prime suspect, suddenly turned around to dispute his confession because the power that be had been involved.
He explained that the state “is culpable in Ige’s murder. Ige had eight days earlier before he was assassination assaulted publicly by Omisore at Ooni’s palace. As a result of that a red flag should have gone up in the security sector to protect him. The government of the day should have known and protected him. How can you have a Minister of Justice assaulted outside and nothing was done about it?”
He lamented that the police accused him of tutoring Fryo what to say when the evidence were there to show that he was saying the right thing, adding that earlier before Ige was murdered, Omisore and the rest had celebrated his humiliation at the Ooni’s palace in an hotel in Osun.
He added that instead of the police to act on Fryo’s evidence to nail the culprit in the murder, the police were struggling to disprove the confessional statement of Fryo because the statement he made were seen as unpalatable to the palace.
“The police were more interested in disproving Fryo’s statement. They arrested the two journalists who brought Fryo to my office and took them to Abuja and tried to make them counter the statement but they refused. I was also arrested and taken to Abuja where I was told that the suspect said he did not make such statement.”
Meanwhile, one of those arrested but later released in connection with the murder of Ige, Mr Lekan Oyediran, has contended that he and 25 others arrested were innocent.
He noted that he lost his investment in a drug store and suffered the death of his wife before he could gained freedom.
He stated this at the 15th years remembrance and memorial lecture of Hon Odunayo Olagbaju , who died in 2001 during the crisis that rocked Alliance for Democracy (AD).
However, at the occasion held at Ile-Ife, Osun State, political associates, friends and families of the deceased eulogised him for “fighting for the oppressed”.
Oyediran, who was a lawmaker in Osun State between 1999 to 2001, asked that those accusing them (arrested suspects) needed to be probed for Ige’s death.
He stressed, “I have no regrets. The only regret I have is that the people we fought for did not deserve it. That struggle also had a little of youthful exuberance.
“We didn’t fight that struggle with enough maturity that time.
“We fought a good fight, we identified with the right people but we could have also done it in a different way or with a different approach.
“All the 24 of us that were arrested in relations to the death of Bola Ige are all innocent. We didn’t know anything about it. I spent almost two years there. I lost everything; I am a pharmacist; I lost my chemist and even my wife before I came back.
“So, it is a kind of thing that makes me sad a lot. Omisore is very innocent of the killing The investigation carried out by the Nigerian police and all the security agencies exonerated Omisore and all other suspects arrested along with him.”