Police officer transferred for daring to invite APC Chairman, Oyegun, for questioning on forgery case

For daring to invite the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Oyegun, for questioning, a police officer has been transferred from his initial post, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Fave Semali, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, was investigating an allegation of forgery against Mr. Oyegun and other APC leaders.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Christopher Anirah, who won the Sapele/Okpe/Uwvie Federal Constituency ticket of the APC at the primary held on December 7, accused Mr. Oyegun and the party’s governorship candidate in Delta State, Otega Emerhor, of falsifying his death so as to replace his name with that of another person.

Mr. Anirah, who was returned winner of the primary, had his name substituted with that of another member of the party, Gibson Akporehe.

A letter obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, bearing the signature and name of Mr. Oyegun dated January 20, attached with a forged death certificate and other documents, was sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to effect the substitution. Eventually, INEC effected Mr. Anirah’s substitution on March 27, 24 hours to the National Assembly elections, following alleged intense pressure from APC leaders including Mr. Oyegun,

After the elections, which the APC lost, the “dead candidate” petitioned the Zone 5 Zonal Police Command, which consists of Delta, Edo and Bayelsa states police commands.

The invitation

As the officer handling the case, Mr. Semali on April 29 wrote Mr. Oyegun, inviting him for questioning as part of investigations into the case, sources told PREMIUM TIMES.

That would, however, become the start of the police officer’s travail.

Two days after writing the letter, Mr. Semali was, on May 1, suddenly transferred out of the zone to Lagos State, under the Zone 2 Zonal Command, by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase.

A senior police officer, who has followed the case, told PREMIUM TIMES that the transfer was definitely because of Mr. Semali’s ‘temerity’ to summon the National Chairman of APC, soon-to-be Nigeria’s ruling party.

PREMIUM TIMES could, however, not verify if Mr. Oyegun influenced the action meted out to the cop or if the police chief acted on his own so as not to be on the bad books of the party leader whose party will govern Nigeria from May 29 when its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, is sworn in as Nigeria’s president.

However, based on the directive of his boss, Mr. Semali washed his hands off the investigations and resumed duty in Lagos on May 19. The case has since been stalled and not handed to another officer to continue investigation.

Apart from police sources who believe the transfer was due to the investigations, the accuser, Mr. Anirah also shares the belief.

“It was Oyegun that called the IGP after he was invited for interrogation that he should be helped to evade investigation because he is a national chairman of APC that will soon become the ruling party,” the politician alleged. “The IGP who earlier approved that my petition should be treated then bowed to pressure and intimidation.”

When contacted on the allegations, Mr. Oyegun declined comment. The APC chairman said he and his party were busy with the transition process rather than responding to “allegations of somebody I have never seen in my life”.

Also, the police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told PREMIUM TIMES that although he was not aware of the transfer, “transfer in the police is a routine exercise at the discretion of the IGP and therefore affected officer’s transfer should not be linked with any investigation.”

The forgery

PREMIUM TIMES obtained some of the documents including a forged death certificate used by the APC and Mr. Oyegun to ensure the substitution of the names.

A letter, dated January 20 with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/015/108 bearing Mr. Oyegun’s name and signature was received by INEC on January 23, informing the electoral body of the purported death of Mr. Anirah, and asking the commission to replace his name with Mr. Akporehe’s.

The January 20 letter had as attachments, Mr. Anirah’s “death certificate” and a January 15 letter bearing the name and alleged signature of the Delta APC Secretary stating Mr. Anirah’s death and that he be replaced with Mr. Akporehe.

Other attachments included a notification of death letter to the Delta APC chairman bearing the name and signature of Odibo Anirah, purportedly the head of the Anirah family; and an affidavit of death bearing Chidi Okonji as deponent.

Curiously, both the notification of death letter purportedly by Mr. Anirah’s family head and the death affidavit allegedly deposed by Mr. Okonji were dated January 15, same day the state chapter of the party forwarded “Substitution of a Dead Candidate” letter to Mr. Oyegun.

When Mr. Anirah confronted INEC on the forged documents and asked that his name be reinstated, the electoral body demanded a letter from Mr. Oyegun to nullify the first. The letter was never sent by the party chairman.