In the investigation into the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, it is a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Police and State Security Service operatives, both invested in solving the murder of the Edo State governor’s aide, have rounded up two different set of suspects with both sides insisting they have the right culprits.
The interagency clash raises questions about the credibility of investigations carried out by either side. Police insist that a Rev. David Ugolor, a human rights activist and Director of the African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, is the mastermind of the Oyerinde murder.
They claim he hired the henchmen who executed the hit on Governor Adams Oshiomole’s political son, who was murdered May 4 at his residence in Benin.
The police has also captured seven other suspects, the gang members they believe killed Oyerinde. On the hand the SSS are convinced they have the right crew as well. They have gathered up six suspects who they claimed invaded and robbed the political aide at his residence before murdering him.
Reports said SSS spokeswoman Marliyn Ogar said the suspects in SSS custody – Mohammed Abdullahi, Raymond Origbo, Chikezie Edeh, Saidu Yakubu, Sani Abubakar and Hassan Bashiru – will be handed over to police. She has denied allegations that the security agency is recycling suspects, as claimed by certain civil society groups.
Ogar further dismissed the notion of any rivalry between the SSS and the police, saying they were “inseparably tied together” and “will continue to partner for the good of the country.”
But in a separate press conference, police officials spoke confidently of the suspects within their grasp. Nigeria Police Force spokesperson, CSP Frank Mba, said that the suspects in their custody have confessed to receiving the promise of N20 million from Ugolor to execute the cold blooded murder of Oyerinde. According to confessions obtained from the suspects, they received an initial down payment of N200,000 as part payment for the crime.
Mba insisted that everything will be done according to due process of the law. Meanwhile, a Benin High Court, presided over by Justice Esther Edigin has reserved judgment till September 6. It is not clear which set of suspects will be prosecuted in connection to the crime.
Ugolor was granted bail on August 16.