Reverend David Ugolor,? is the Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, (ANEEJ). He was alleged by the Police of masterminding the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, who was the Principal Private Secretary to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State before his eventual acquittal by a court in Benin. In an exclusive interview with PATRICK OCHOGA, he challenged the federal government to unravel the killers of his bosom friend whose life was terminated almost a year ago.
What is the latest regarding the fight to get the killers of your bosom friend, Comrade Oyeride Olaitan brought to Justice?
Well, I think the petition of some NGO‘s in Edo State to the National Assembly is being awaited. We are expecting the report and as you know, we have to adopt multiple prong approaches to achieve justice and we have gone to court to make sure that the N5million the court awarded for my illegal detention by the police for framing me up for unjust cause is paid. At the same time, members of the civil society , conference of NGO’s are also dissatisfied with the way the police bungled the investigation particularly against the fact that it is the first time in the history of Nigeria? that two key law agencies are parading two different suspects for one particular crime and when looking into the details, you will realize that there are a lot of inconsistencies in the police report and that, to? a large extent, affected the perception of police in the country. Since it cannot unravel a murder case, what are the expectations that they could be able to deal with the issue of Boko Haram??
Looking at the role of the Police in this entire saga, don’t you think it portends a dangerous trend in the attempt to unravel persons behind crimes in the Country?
The investigation, as you know, has again exposed and put to question the credibility of police as an institution in Nigeria, particularly if you look at their own report. We have been saying it was manufactured from their own report that we are holding them accountable to and that is the reason why the conference of NGO which ANEEJ, my organization, sent a petition to the National Assembly and all stakeholders were all invited.? At that public hearing, the police and the SSS made their own report available and the Edo State government, civil societies also intervened which was presented by Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. At the public hearing, it was very encouraging because it was the first time the police was brought to justice. At least, we have achieved something in the process of ending the culture of impunity in the police where they frame up innocent citizens. It also brings to mind that quite a number of armed robbers they parade are really innocent people because our people don’t have the resources and what it takes to engage the police; sometimes they ended up being killed and murdered in the process of seeking for justice.
Can you explain the allegation of? the call-log according to Police initial finding?
These are part of the deliberate attempt I have been talking about by the police to rope me; however, we are hoping that with the issues that have emerged at the public hearing particularly on issue that the police were using to mis-inform the public about my involvement in the issue of call-log, the issue of gun that was used to kill Olaitan , the issue of autopsy report that was carried out which would have helped to reconcile the fact whether it is the SSS or the police. You cannot be a judge in your own case. In case of the autopsy report which is the fundamental document that would described the kind of guns that was used to murdered Olaitan, the police have their own pathologist who is an assistant commissioner of police , so, I’m wondering how one can be a judge in his own case; that, to a large extent, is a deliberate attempt to burgle? the investigation. As if that is not enough,? criminal investigation has a procedure and from that public hearing, we have also discovered that the police know very clearly that the issue of murder is a state matter but they chose to mischievously take the case file the Federal Directorate of Public Prosecution in Abuja and you can see the trouble that has happened between the state governor and the Attorney General of the federation. We were wondering why the Deputy Inspector General of Police could descend to the level of not knowing that a federal case is supposed to be a state crime.
So, what specific action informed the thinking that the Police wanted to burgle the case?
Like I said, the police ab-initio framed me up in this matter in an attempt to bring embarrassment to the human rights community in Nigeria. They looked for every means of carrying out action to frame me up, but they saw that they were no longer comfortable with the system in Edo State, so, they dashed to Abuja where they think they can have a convenient partnership and that was why we are worried that Attorney General was economical with the truth. He was trying to blame the Attorney General of Edo State for where and when the Deputy Inspector General of Police sent the case file to the Ministry of Justice in Abuja. All he would have done was to quietly advise the police that it was a state crime but he went ahead to give an advise which was contrary to what he tried to make the Nigeria public to believe. At the public hearing, he also had a representative, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution who clearly confirmed that they also gave an advice until the SSS people brought their own report and they became confused. In an attempt to also be economical with the truth, the Attorney General also tried to mis-inform the public that he was not confused and today that Deputy Director is a victim of political intrigue. Having said that, the public hearing has helped to expose that and to a large extent, it has shown that there must be something behind it particularly against the background that the President few days in the wake was in the state and the governor of the state Adams Oshiomhole cried to him to unravel the death.
The president ordered the IGP to assemble a special team to investigate the matter which was headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police; unfortunately, after one year, we have seen nothing. What we have seen is that two major law enforcement agencies are fighting for supremacy The SSS and the Police are parading two? different suspects and the President has not thought it wise to intervene to reconcile this fact. We are worried and hoped that the public hearing will not go in the way the executive is treating the resolution of the National Assembly. So, it also brings to mind who is behind the assassination of Olaitan? Why was my name brought into it? Why is the President not asking because the SSS at the public hearing confirmed that every report produced was shared with the President. I’m also sure that the police who the president ordered to go and carry out this investigation would have also shared their report with the president. Why has he not intervened in the matter? Does Olaitan not deserve Justice in Nigeria? And I that was framed up as an innocent citizen, do I not deserve justice? If you look at the history of Boko Haram, it is when their leader Yusuf was unjustly murdered by the police that brought up the Boko Haram crisis in the country today. Why is it that what the government understand is the language of violence? We have adopted all democratic channels to seek for justice but there seems to be a deliberate resistance from the government not to listen to us. Today, we are victims, but tomorrow it could be another person. Our appeal is to call on the government to wake up because the President would not be president for ever. My appeal is that if I’m involved in the death of my friend, I should be prosecuted but now that a court of competence jurisdiction has proved my innocence, I deserve justice, it is not just about me but about the country, if something is not done, it would encourage police officers to frame up innocent citizen.
What is the reflection of the action before the International Community?
What the police has done to me is? crime to humanity, for example, Nigeria is signatory to the UN convention against torture; what that means is that Nigeria is against the use of guns or torture to obtain information from suspects, as a matter of fact, suspects have fundamental human rights around the world but in the case of this investigation by the police they use torture and gunshots to extract statements from the suspects and as a matter of fact, the suspects have now confirmed clearly now that the police use torture and gunshot. I have told the whole world that each of those suspects including maisamari who claimed that I sponsored him was actually shot and tortured and they brought my photograph to him, how do you use guns and torture to extract statement from suspects?