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Family petitions IGP over abduction of Edo High Chief 14 years after

From: Tony Osauzo, Benin-City

‎Fourteen years after the disappearance of  the Adolor of Ohordua, Chief Francis Okoeguale,  his family in Ohordua of  Esan South East Local Government area of Edo State, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) demanding for thorough investigation of the role allegedly played by an American returnee, Mr. Monday Ailabogie Aikpaojie, in the forceful abduction of the chief from his house on July 16, 2003.

In the petition through their lawyer, K. O. Obamogie and Co. the petitioners, Isimemen Okoeguale and Mrs. Celestina Iseguan Ibekwe of No. 1, Adolor Street, Equare  Ohordua, both daughters of Chief Francis A. Okoeguale, stated that  their petition was in connection with the abduction of their father by a group of armed youths allegedly led by Aikpaojie.

It was gathered that Aikpaojie was recently arrested in Lagos by the police over alleged unlawful possession of firearms, adding that their father has not been seen since his abduction in 2003.

The petition read in parts: “Our clients’ family lodged a formal report with Ubiaja Police Station, which later transferred the case file to the State C.I.D., Benin City after which Monday Ailabogie Aikaojie, the principal culprit in the heinous crime was arrested on 21st July, 2003 and was released under a mysterious circumstance.

“Thereafter, Mr. Monday Ailabogie Aikpaojie refused to report at the Police Station and following our clients’ dissatisfaction with the shoddy investigation carried out by policemen assigned to the case at the State C.I.D., Benin City, our clients wrote petitions to your esteemed office requesting that a crack team of detectives be constituted to take over the case file and unravel the mystery surrounding the abduction and disappearance of our clients’ father”, the family lawyer said.

The petition signed by C.C. Okpaleke for Obamogie and Co. law chamber explained that not much was achieved by the above efforts because Mr. Monday Ailabogie Aikpaojie fled the country and his whereabouts were unknown.

“It has come to our clients’ knowledge that Mr. Monday Ailabogie Aikpaojie recently returned to the country and was arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for unlawful possession of firearms and was paraded before journalists on Friday, 23rd June, 2017 and his confessional statement as published by some national Newspapers of 24th June, 2017 is quite instructive.‎

“In a nutshell, Mr. Aikpaojie admitted that he purchased the three pump action guns found in his custody sometime in 2002 because he needed security to attend a function in his village, Ohordua. It is noteworthy that at this point in time, Mr. Aikpaojie was embroiled in a chieftaincy dispute at Ohordua, which was subject of litigation at the time he was abducted in 2003.

“From Mr. Aikpaojie’s statement as published by the Newspapers, there is a link between the purchase of the guns in 2002 by the suspect and the abduction of our clients’ father in 2003. This link ought to be investigated.

“Further, Mr. Aikpaojie has not desisted from threatening the lives of his perceived adversaries in Ohordua, including the current Onogie of Ohordua. Please find attached a police report from the office of the D.P.O., Nigeria Police, Ewohimi Division where it is clearly indicated that the suspect who is wanted in connection with a complaint of threat to life is at large.

“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby respectfully request you to direct that Mr. Monday Ailabogie Aikpaojie be transferred to Edo State Command for thorough investigation and prosecution for the murder of Chief Francis A. Okoeguale, who must now be presumed dead by virtue of section 164(1) of the evidence act, 2001. We trust that you would leave no stone unturned in order to show clearly that the era of impunity is gone in Nigeria” the petitioners urged the Inspector General of Police.”

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