Abuja - Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo has accused the Attorney- General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke, of allegedly trivialising issues concerning the murder of his former aide, Olaitan Oyerinde.
Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary of Oshiomole, was murdered in 2012 in his residence in Benin.
Oshiomole made the accusation in an interview with State House Correspondents shortly after the Council of State meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Presidential Villa.
He also accused Adoke, who is the Minister of Justice of disregarding the office of an elected governor, which he claimed, was higher than that of a minister.
Adoke, in a swift response, denied the allegations, saying that he neither trivialised the case nor disregard the office of the governor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oshiomhole made the accusation while responding to questions on what led to a hot verbal exchange between him and the minister before the beginning of the Council meeting.
NAN reports that the incident occurred before Jonathan entered the venue of the meeting.
It took the intervention of the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta and some others around, to bring the situation under control.
When asked what led to the incidence, Oshiomhole said it had to do with the trial of the suspects arrested in connection with Oyerinde’s murder.
``He (Adoke) was saying that my Attorney General should have known what to do, that he had nothing to do with the matter, and I simply asked him whether it was my Attorney-General who referred the matter to him.
``The matter was referred to him by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and I asked him who should know better?
``If the DIG referred a matter that he ought to have ordinarily referred to the state to the Federal Attorney General who is the one dragging him into the matter, who is the one politicising the matter?
``Should we assume that the DIG did not know that the offence of murder is a state offence?
If he (DIG) knows it is a atate offence why did he refer it to the Federal Attorney-General?
``If he (Adoke) has any complaint he should confront the DIG who referred the case to him,’’ Oshiomhole said.
According to him, the point is that some of these guys… I am a governor, I am elected, he has to respect my office, even if he doesn't respect my person.
``In any event, we are dealing with factual issues; if a case was wrongfully referred to the Federal Attorney General by the Nigeria Police, who is to blame?
``In any event, we also complained that this matter ought to have been referred to the Edo Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), not the federal because it is a state offence committed in Edo.
``It is like the case of a he-goat. When the family is happy they sacrifice the he-goat to celebrate, when a child is sick, the native doctor says sacrifice he-goat so that the child will be well.
``So, head or tail the he-goat is in trouble. Here I am; my principal secretary is killed and nobody seems to bother.
``I am doing my best to raise the issue because that is the least I owe to someone who gave his life and someone else who does not think life is important.
``When it comes to life and death, I don't joke; you don't joke with life and death.
``The essence of governance is to protect life and property that is fundamental; even in poverty, people need to feel safe and secured.
``Nobody has a right under our constitution to take the life of another except if it has been confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
``I was surprised at the Attorney General that it is something he can afford to joke with, telling me that my Attorney General did not know what to do.’’
Oshiomhole maintained that he would not compromise on the death of his aide and that he would do everything possible to see that justice was done.
When confronted with allegations by the governor, the minister denied them, saying that he had high regard for the office.
``I will not disregard his office; he is my personal friend. I have the highest respect for him. He is a governor, but I will not join issues with him," Adoke said.
Meanwhile, the Council of State meeting was attended by former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan and former President Shehu Sahagari.
Also in attendance were the former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore, Legbo Kutigi and Dahiru Musdapher.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and state governors also attended.
NAN reports that there was no briefing after the meeting which lasted for about three hours.
The Council of State is an organ of the Nigerian Government with statutory functions of advising the executive on policy making.
It comprise the president as the Chairman and the vice president as the Deputy Chairman.
Other members include all former presidents and former Heads of State and all former Chief Justices of Nigeria.
The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all incumbent state governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice are also members of the Council.
The Council has the responsibilities to advise the president in the exercise of his powers with respect to the prerogative of mercy and award of national honours.
The Council also offers advice to the president on issues of elections, judiciary and population census as well as appointments of members of INEC, National Judicial Council and National Population Commission.
It also advises the president whenever requested to do so on the maintenance of public order within the federation or any part thereof, and on such other matters as the president might direct.