Tears flowed freely Monday in Benin City during the first year remembrance of the late Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, who was killed by assailants in his Benin City home on May 4, last year.
In an emotion laden voice, his widow, Funke, placed a curse on the husband killers, saying they will not know peace.
Her words: “The killers of Olaitan, if you are here, you will not know no peace. Your children and wives will not know no peace. You shall never sow and never reap in your lives.”
Pointing at her son, Adams, she continued: “They have killed Olaitan but Olaitan is here,” adding that she lost her mother the same year she lost her husband.
In his tributes, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, called on the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, to publicly apologise to the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, for the misleading statement that his office does not give legal advice to the police with regards to state offences.
Falana who spoke at the event which took place at the Imaguero College, Benin City, said: “While the case of murder is a state offence, the constitutional duty to protect the lives of every person in Nigeria, Nigerians and foreigners alike, is binding on the federal government.”
He disclosed that at a well-attended ceremony in Benin on April 7, 2012, a powerful member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling party openly threatened the life of the Edo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Louis Odion, without any provocation of whatever the big man said, “You will see what will happen to you.”
“Mr Odion quietly lodged a complaint with the police, but the complain was treated in a cavalier manner as no charge was preferred against the criminal suspect who had threatened to violate the fundamental rights of a citizen to life. Regrettably, the Edo State Government left the matter in the hands of the compromised security apparatus.”
“With reference to the fellow who threatened the live of Mr. Louis Odion last year, the government should have its case reopen to prove that the culture of impunity is not acceptable in the new Edo State,” he noted.
“In the case of Edo State, the man who gave us a sign that people were going to be attacked should also be arrested and prosecuted. In attempt to defend the lives of our people, we must be prepared to end the culture of impunity and the official policy of granting amnesty to those who engage in violent crimes in the society instead of relying on the police to investigate serious crimes, Edo State Government should be more proactive.
“Comrade, I advice that we should have a coroners law in Edo State for the investigation unnatural deaths as it is the case in Lagos State. As we are marking the first anniversary of the assassination of our comrade, we should remember all those unarmed citizens who have been extra-judicially murdered by the security agencies and other criminally-minded individuals in the society,” he added.
He said he had asked the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, to reopen the case into the assassination of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige who was killed in his home on December 23, 2001.
Also in his tributes, Oshiomhole said, “We have a duty to keep the memory of Olaitan alive. Olaitan is a man of uncommon vision and clarity, he is a very selfless worker.
“It is impossible for me to find a replacement, if there is anything happening in any section of the civil society, Olaitan will draw my attention and if possible he will suggest what is to be done, so it is impossible to find a replacement. If it is impossible for me to have a replacement it is impossible for the children to have another father and for the wife to have another husband,” he noted.
According to the governor, “I am happy that one year on, the fighting spirit is on and people have asked me why I talk in this way and manner. Some say I don’t talk like a governor when it comes to Olaitan’s matter. How is a man supposed to talk when a man is mourning? Is my office and indeed the life of any Nigerian as important as the life of a Nigerian.
“I am conscious of the fact that I have tenure at best eight years, the next position is ex- and we must continue to remind ourselves that today we are here and tomorrow we are no more. Some time I ask myself should we bother to talk about Olaitans investigation because as we have seen few weeks back the former Inspector General house was allegedly attacked,” he added.
Oshiomhole said when you allow political influence to influence your professional duties, you will be contributing to the destruction of the rule of law, adding that “once the rule of law is no more enforceable the law enforcement agencies are compromised, the celebration of democracy is basically the celebration of the rule of law. As central to the rule of law is the capacity of the state, through the security agencies to identity and prosecute criminals regardless of their status.”
The governor appealed to Edo people never to allow rascals to take over the reins of government, noting that, “If we do that at all levels Nigeria will change.”