The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has said he is not confused over the investigation into the murder of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State’s Principal Private Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde.
Adoke, in a letter on Thursday to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, said that contrary to the position of the Deputy Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation, O.T. Olaitigbe, before the committee on his behalf at the Public Hearing on Wednesday, he remains clear headed as to the next steps to take.
He described the comments by Olaitigbe as a figment of his imagination.
Olaitigbe had told the committee that owing to the difference in the reports of the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Security Service on the murder of Oyerinde, the prosecution of the alleged killers could not proceed.
Adoke said going by all relevant laws, his ministry has no power to prosecute murder cases and was therefore shocked that a senior officer in the Ministry of Justice could state that the prosecution of the alleged killers could not go on because of confusion in the investigation.
Adoke wrote in his letter: “It has been widely reported in the electronic and print media that Mr. Olaitigbe while making his presentation to the Committee, stated among other things that the Ministry of Justice was confused as a result of the investigation reports it had received from the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service (SSS) which appeared to have indicted different sets of suspects for the alleged murder of Oyerinde and that the Ministry could not proceed further with the prosecution of the suspects because of the need to harmonise the two reports .
“I wish to completely disassociate myself from the comments purportedly made on my behalf by Mr. Olaitigbe as the comments were at best, a figment of his imagination and very far from the truth. Mr. Olaitigbe was under firm instructions to inform the Committee that:
“(a) the Federal Ministry of Justice had examined the powers of the State Security Service as provided by Section 3 of the National Security Act, Cap.N.74 LFN, 2004 and the powers of the Nigeria Police Force as provided by section 4 of the Police Act Cap. P.19 LFN, 2004 and had come to the reasoned conclusion that the power to investigate crimes of the nature under consideration (murder) resides with the Nigeria Police Force while the power to gather intelligence lies with the State Security Service, and
“(b) murder, the offence allegedly committed by the suspects is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the States in the Federation. The Criminal Procedure Act, Cap., C. 38 LFN, 2004 is very clear on this matter. The Federal Ministry of Justice therefore has no power to prosecute murder cases as murder is a state offence committed against State law and that the matter was already been handled by appropriate authorities in Edo State.
“”In view of the foregoing clear instructions and position, I am shocked, embarrassed and utterly disappointed by the representations reportedly allegedly made on my behalf by Mr. Olaitigbe. I have accordingly instituted an internal investigation to unravel the mystery and appropriate measures will be taken to discipline any officer found wanting in this deliberate propagation of falsehood.
“In the meantime, I wish to assure your esteemed Members and the general public of the principled stance of my office on this matter as already elaborated above and to inform you that my office was never at any material time confused as to the steps to be taken in this matter. I sincerely regret the misrepresentation and the apprehension that it has generated in the minds of Honourable Members of the Committee, as well as the general public.”