21st September, 2012
Environmental rights activist, Rev. David Ugolor, has challenged the Nigerian Police to charge to court the six persons paraded by the Department of State Security Services (SSS), as killers of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Ugolor, who was recently released on bail by a Benin High Court over alleged implication in the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, described his “frame-up” and detention in prison as a threat to democracy and an attempt to criminalise civil society organisations in Nigeria.
He expressed gratitude to the civil society organisations and the media for rallying against his detention, adding that the six accused persons deserve to be prosecuted.
He said there was no reason why the police should continue to keep them in detention.
Ugolor spokee in Benin City during his first public appearance after his release on bail from 6 weeks detention by the police.
According to him, it would have been a terrible blow for Civil Society organizations, his church which ordained him a Minister of the gospel 15 years ago, his wife, children and the media’s assessment of his person, if the police had escaped with the trumped up charge against him.
His release followed an order of a High Court in Benin City which also awarded him N5 million as damages after his detention on allegation of being a suspect in the gruesome murder of Oyerinde.
Ugolor, who said he used to see the Oko Medium Security Prison where he was detained as a place for murderers, also called on the Edo State government to set urgent machinery in motion to facilitate the quick release from detention of hundreds of innocent citizens who were being held on “trumped up” charges.
He noted that the call became necessary to decongest the prisons.
“Prisons reforms and decongestion in Nigeria will be impossible if the police continue the culture impunity of arresting, harassing, detaining and framing up the innocent citizens,” he said.
He added that all Edo citizens “must encourage the Edo State government to invest more in the judiciary so that when there is annual recess, people do not suffer unjustly because of the absence of a few judges.”
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin