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THE Police hit back, yesterday, at the Oyo State Government which on Monday, absolved itself of blame in the alleged shoddy investigation and prosecution of suspects in the assassination of former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, in December 2001.
ABUJA- THE Police hit back, yesterday, at the Oyo State Government which on Monday, absolved itself of blame in the alleged shoddy investigation and prosecution of suspects in the assassination of former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, in December 2001.
The police authorities said the statement credited to the state Attorney-General, Mr. Lekan Latinwo, in which he indicted the police for alleged poor investigation was an afterthought.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Chris Olakpe, said they conducted their investigation "diligently."
In the statement entitled: "We did our investigation diligently," Mr. Olakpe said: "The Police High Command expects the Ministry of Justice to collaborate rather than cast aspersion. If there was any error in police investigation, they are expected to point it out from the beginning for immediate correction. That is the best way forward in administration, politics and criminal justice dispensation.
"When the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, was murdered in December 2001, the Nigeria Police Force not only meticulously investigated the matter, it also made valuable arrests. At the end of the investigation, the case file was sent to the office of the Oyo State Attorney-General for legal advice.
"The office of the Oyo State Attorney-General after duly scrutinising the case file in question was completely convinced that some of the suspects arrested by the Nigeria Police had cases to answer. The legal advice subsequently issued did not point at any deficiency in police investigation.
"If the Attorney-Generalís office was not satisfied with our investigation, it would have said so ab initio. Saying so now after failing to successfully prosecute the case in court, amounts to nothing but an afterthought.
"It is worthy of note, that from the point when the case file was vetted and suspects indicted of complicity, and the office of the Attorney-General initiated prosecution, the case had completely left the ambit of the Nigeria Police and become the baby of the Ministry of Justice.
"The Nigeria Police Force does not claim to know it all, that is why the Ministry of Justice is there to professionally and legally vet police case files and investigation reports, with a view to pin-pointing deficiencies, if any, before prosecution.
"However, once the Ministry of Justice was satisfied and had gone ahead and prosecuted the case in question, they cannot turn around to say they were not satisfied with police investigation any longer.
"The Nigeria Police Force is not by this reaction trading words or trying to join issues with the Oyo State Ministry of Justice, rather our aim is to simply set the records straight and this reaction will be the last comment the force will make on the matter."
Mr. Latinwo who himself was responding to the weekend statement by the family of the late Chief Ige had said among others: "With a high sense of duty, nobility of acts, respect and concern for the people of this great nation, I must admit that the shoddy investigation of Igeís case is regretted. And this is why the family of Chief Bola Ige and the entire nation deserve apology.
"If I have sufficient reasons or good ground to reopen the case, I will write the police to re-investigate the case."
The Iges expressed disappointment at the poor investigation and prosecution of suspects, saying "we have known that justice in this case hasnít been dispensed diligently."
They accused the Attorney-General of not living up to his responsibility in his handling of the matter and wondered why he has not appealed the decision of the stateís High Court discharging and acquitting those charged to court, and recalled his attempt to take over the case when late Chief Debo Akande was absent during the hearing.