by Dare Lawal
The police lost their appeal in the case involving Rev. David Ugolor, the activist who was wrongfully arrested and detained over the death of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the late principal secretary to Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
A Benin High Court presided over by Justice E. A. Edigin had ordered the police to pay the activist the sum of N5 million as damages for his unlawful detention over Oyerinde’s death. The police subsequently filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Benin City, Edo State which has now upheld the judgement of the lower court and given the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubarkar, two months to pay up.
According to reports:
The three-man panel of justices headed by Justice Helen Olagumwumiju also struck out the stay of execution filed by counsel to the IGP and Attorney General of Federation (AGF), Barrister Michael Ehunde.
Counsel to the respondent (Ugolor), Barrister Olayinwola Afolabi had argued that the motion of appeal was incompetent, and urged that it should be struck out accordingly.
The appeal court ruling is coming eight months after Justice E. A. Edigin of a Benin High Court ordered the police to pay the activists the sum as damages for his unlawful detention over the murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Secretary to Edo StateGovernor Adams Oshiomhole.
Ugolor was incarcerated by the security operatives for 41 days after one of the suspects in police custody allegedly named him as the sponsor of the killing.
After listening to the submissions of both lawyer, Justice Olagunmuju held: “It’s hereby ordered that the judgement sum of N5million be paid to the deputy chief registrar of this court within 60 days, and s/he shall immediately deposit same in an interest yielding account”.
Meanwhile, The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused the police of concealing the true indentities of the killers of the late Oyerinde Olaitan.
The labour union said it was disturbing that over one year after Olaitan was gruesomely murdered at his residence in Benin City, the Nigerian security agencies had not been able to prosecute anyone for the murder.
The NLC, in a statement signed by its president, ComradeAbdulwaheed Omar, said that this murder is one that has exposed the incompetence of the Nigerian Police whose jurisdiction it is uncover crimes of this nature.
It said the police had shown so much negligence in investigating the matter that appropriate sanctions must be dished out to the police by the government.
The statement reads in part: “We believe the police have interests other than serving public interest in this case.”