Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Oyerinde murder: Oshiomhole, Attorney General in war of words

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Muhammed Adoke (SAN), on Tuesday openly engaged each other in a shouting match over the manner in which the investigation and prosecution of suspects in the murder of the governor’s Principal Private Secretary,  Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, was  being handled.

  The confrontation  arena was neither the Edo State Government House in Benin nor the minister’s office in the Maitama District in Abuja but at the Council Chamber of Presidential Villa.
The incident  took place  shortly before the commencement of the National Council of State’s meeting attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo; President of the Senate, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives; three former heads of state, three former Chief Justices  and  governors among others.
Participants at the meeting were still  exchanging  pleasantries  when the  exchange of words  by Oshiomhole and Adoke  caught their attention.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State was sighted making frantic efforts to calm down Oshiomhole,  who was visibly enraged.
Uduaghan was later joined by the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, who is also from Edo State.
As Adoke was being led away from the scene of the confrontation, Oshiomhole was heard saying, “Look at this man. He has no respect.”
The governor was still visibly angry when  Jonathan and   three former presidents arrived to signal the commencement of the meeting.
The drama however played out when Mark, Tambuwwal and the  former CJNs – Justice Dahiru Musdapher, Justice Alfa Belgore and Justice Idris Kutigi – were already seated.
Trouble started when Adoke approached Oshiomhole and wondered why the governor’s Attorney-General misled him when he knew that Oyerinde’s case was a state matter.
Angered by Adoke’s submission, Oshiomhole asked whether his state owns the Nigeria Police Force.
The atmosphere became  charged as they exchanged words,  vowing that they could not be intimidated.
Oshiomhole accused Adoke of  showing  disrespect  and added that  he  was not  afraid of the minister.
Sensing that the altercation might further degenerate, a protocol officer quickly alerted Oghiadomhe,  who alongside Uduaghan and another aide of the President succeeded in calming down the feuding public officials.
Oshiomhole later told State House correspondents that he was angry because Adoke was trivialising a murder case that he (the governor) was committed to unravelling.
He said if the AGF could not respect him as an individual, he should respect the office he occupies because he was duly elected.
The governor  said, “Here I am, my Private Secretary was killed and nobody seems to bother.  I am doing my best to raise the issue because that is the least I owe to someone who lost  his life while serving me, and someone else  does not think life is important.  For him it(Oyerinde’s killing) is a matter to trivalise and joke about.
“When it comes to death, I don’t joke, you don’t joke with life and death. The essence of governance is to protect lives and property, that is fundamental, even in poverty, people need to feel safe and secure.
“Nobody has a right under our constitution to take the life of another, except if it has been confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction. I was surprised that for the Attorney-General, it is something he can afford to joke with, telling me that my Attorney- General didn’t know what to do.”
Oshiomhole said Adoke was wrong to question the competence of his Attorney-General when the case was referred to him by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police

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