IGP Arase May Reopen Investigation Into Bola Ige’s Murder Case

IGP Arase May Reopen Investigation Into Bola Ige’s Murder Case

By Seyi Peters | Staff Reporter on June 2, 2015
police service
Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase

The Nigerian Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, on Monday, June 1, 2015 has said that the investigation into the gruesome murder of a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige (SAN)  that occurred some fourteen years ago may be reopened.

Mr. Arase, speaking on Channels Television during a programme, “View from the top,” , said that the investigation into the murder failed because it was not based on proper intelligence.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State and a former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Chief Iyiola Omisore, the immediate past Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Jelili Adesiyan, and the current National Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Wale Oladipo, were arrested and charged for the murder.

They were, however, discharged by the courts after a series of trials which were bededcked with various intrigues.

Mr. Arase, who was a member of the special homicide unit that investigated the case, said the investigation was also marred by the political atmosphere at the time. He also revealed the suspects were made to undergo lie detector tests:

“Some people were charged to court but just as I said before, our investigation was not intelligence-led. So, we tended to situate it within the political complexion of Osun State at that time. And you will also remember that there were a lot of distractions when that investigation started.

“So, it looked as if the attention of the police was diverted from the original cause of the event. I remember we also brought in the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and we wanted to ascertain if the people that we had in custody were the real people.

“So, we administered the polygraph examination but it did not work out. The polygraph test showed that they were not the perpetrators. The scientific aid we were trying to get was not in tandem with the circumstantial evidence that we had gathered. And when you have such issues, the suspect is given the benefit of the doubt. So, they walked away.”

Mr. Arase, said the case had not been closed and that if new evidence emerged, the case would be revived.

He said, “Murder cases don’t have statutes of limitation. Cases can always be reopened as it is done in other countries. Once there is fresh evidence to suggest that the probability of involvement or the criminal responsibility of one of the suspects in that matter is higher, it can always be reopened. You hardly close a criminal investigation that way.”

Speaking on his plans for his new role as police boss, Mr. Arase said he would implement police reforms as well as increase the standard of living of junior police officers.

He encouraged the police  to be more professional and continue to operate on the assumption that suspects are innocent until allegations against them were proven ,decrying the habit of arresting suspects before gathering evidence.

He said for things to improve in the police, the best university graduates would need to join the force:

“We must ensure that those who are brought into the force are intelligent enough and can be easily trained. When your manpower is wrong ab initio, you get everything wrong. So, we have to look at our recruitment policy. We should be able to attract the best people into the force.”

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