Thursday, 3 April 2014
GRUESOME MURDER OF BARRISTERS DAFIOGHO EGWUONO AND SAMUEL EKWAGHANJU IN A
LONELY OIL COMPANY SERVICE ROAD AT OZORO
Delta State Police Command deeply regrets
the gruesome murder of Barristers Dafiogho Egwuono and Samuel
Ekwaghanju on Thursday
27th March, 2014, at about 1455hrs, in a lonely Oil Company Service
Road at Ozoro. However, against the ugly insinuations being bandied in some
quarters by some notable pressure groups; and moreso, against the backdrop of
the decision taken by members of Delta State branch of Nigeria Bar Association
(NBA) to stay clear from cases of kidnapping, we deemed it necessary to state
hereunder, for the awareness of the good people of Delta State some
undisputable facts surrounding the case thus;
1.That the 2 lawyers are the defence Counsel in the ongoing trial of the accused
persons in the case of the 2012 kidnapping of the son of the Secretary to the
State Government (SSG) of Delta State currently subsisting at Ozoro High Court.
2.That the 2 lawyers filed motion for a writ of hebeus corpus, praying the Court
for the production of 2 other suspects namely Ogaga Enueme and Efe Edhike
arrested in February, 2014 in connection with various cases of kidnapping and
armed robberies which include the kidnapping of the son of the SSG in 2012 and
the ambush of prison officials in March 2013.
3.That personnel from the Legal Department of Delta State Police Command had
joined issues with the applicants in the court, whereupon the police defence
counsel diligently highlighted the criminal escapades of the suspects sought to
be released, some of which are herein set out seriatim;
i. The Kidnapping of one Mrs Bibiana Obonyana,
aged 55yrs on 5/1/2014 at about 1100hrs on her way back from the church along
Asaba-Ase Road, Uzere. The kidnapped woman was kept in unlawful custody for
over 7 days in the house of one of the gang members - Jonathan Okolie aka GSM
at Emu-Obodeti, where she was serially gang raped, after which the gang
collected a ransom of N345,000.00
before the release of the victim.
ii. The kidnapping of an 85yrs old woman at Elu
who was also gang raped before the collection of N1m for ransom.
iii. The March 2013 attack of prison personnel on
escort duties from Warri prisons to the court during which a prison officer was
killed and three suspects freed.
iv. The kidnapping of the son of the SSG in 2012
wherein the names of some of the gang members were revealed thus;
Okolie aka GSM,
others currently stand trial at Ozoro High Court.
4.That the court, after taking cognisance of the issues joined by both parties,
slated the case for Ruling on Thursday 27th March 2014 at 12 noon at
the instance of the counsel for the applicants.
5. That on Thursday 27th March, 2014 after 12noon, the court
delivered its Ruling directing the Police
Command to arraign the arrested suspects on or before 2nd of April
2014, wherein the defence counsel for the police duly informed the court that
the suspects were to be arraigned in court on same date being 27/3/2014.
6.That on same date - 27/3/2014 at about 0830hrs, while taking the 2 self
confessed suspected kidnappers/armed robbers to Ozoro for arraignment; along
Ogwashi-Uku/Kwale Road, precisely at Edo-Ogwashi axis of the Road, the police
escort team ran into an ambush, wherein some hoodlums suspected to be the gang
members of the arrested suspects riddled the 2 vehicles conveying the police
and the suspects with bullets.
7.That the escort team put up a good defence during which the 2 suspects - in a
heated gun duel - suffered fatal gunshots while one of the police escort team
member also suffered serious bullet wounds and is currently hospitalised.
8.That on same day - 27/3/2014, at about 1455hrs, information was received by
personnel attached to Ozoro Divisional Police Headquarters that a Lexus Jeep
with Reg No. EFR 234 VF and 2 corpses lying on the ground closed to the jeep
facing each other were seen at Oil Well 4 near Onwhe flow station, Ozoro.
9.That the 2 corpses were identified by their distinct dressing as lawyers and
removed to Bromic Hospital Ozoro for autopsy. The vehicle suspected to belong
to one of the lawyers was also removed from the crime scene to the station
after a comprehensive photograph of the entire scene by detectives.
10.That the vehicle was searched at the police station during which
of the lawyers were discovered to be Barristers Dafiogho Egwuono and Samuel
11.That against the insinuations being bandied in some quarters that
the police is
behind the crime; we want to state unequivocally that the Command has
continuously strived to maintain and adhere to the strict tenets of the Rule of
Law by trying as much as possible to be dispassionate in the enforcement of our
duties and not delve into the arena of conflicts howsoever. Some cases in point
giving credence to the above assertions will suffice thus;
2012, a senior lawyer based in Warri was caught red handed while attempting to
offer a bribe of N700,000.00 to a
detective in a bid to effect the release of a suspected bloodletting kidnapper.
Evidence further abounds that the lawyer tried to persuade the police detective
to hoodwink members of the public and the Command that the kidnapper died in a
shootout with the police. The lawyer was eventually arrested and arraigned in
court, and against the weight of evidence and the willingness of the Command to
prosecute the case to its ultimate conclusion, the case was curiously
discharged and acquitted and the lawyer is
still walking freely today.
2013, an Asaba based lawyer tore a Warrant of Arrest and Seriously Assaulted a
Police officer in the process of executing the Warrant. The lawyer was also
arrested and arraigned in court and against the weight of evidence too and the
Command's willingness to prosecute the case to its ultimate conclusion, the
lawyer was curiously discharged and acquitted and is today walking freely.
2012, a Warri based lawyer led some miscreants and Okada riders to attack
Ebrumede Divisional Police Headquarters, Effurun. The lawyer and his
accomplices were arrested and arraigned in court where they were also
discharged and acquitted and is today walking freely.
12. That while we deeply regret
the gruesome Murder of the 2 Ministers in the temple of justice - a crack team
of detectives led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police State CID Asaba had been
constituted to unravelled the mystery behind the sordid act.
we want to reassure the good people of Delta State that the Command will never
succumb to the temptations of extra judicial killing or be a party to same, but
will rather remain undeterred or discouraged by any act of blackmail and will
continue in our present efforts to ensure that the evil of kidnapping and
violent crime is consistently fought head-on no matter whose ox is gored.
CP IKECHUKWU ADUBA NPM, PSC (+)
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
DELTA STATE COMMAND