Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has demanded the arrest and prosecution of an Abuja-based businessman, Alhaji Usman Adamu, for the alleged murder of an undergraduate, Joy Odama.
The 200-level student of Mass Communication at the Cross River State University of Science died under mysterious circumstance, in Adamu’s guesthouse in Karmo, Abuja, in December 2016.
The Governor called for Adamu’s arrest within 24 hours and his arraignment in a court of law for his alleged crime. Ayade, who was represented by the Director-General, Due Process and Intelligence Unit, Dr Alphonsus Eba, at a press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja said the suspect was being shielded from prosecution by the police.
The Governor said he had directed the Cross River State Attorney-General to collaborate with a former AGF, Kanu Agabi, SAN, and the Federal Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to ensure that Adamu does not escape justice.
The Governor said he would write a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the refusal of the police to prosecute the suspect, promising that he would not rest until justice was done in the matter.
“We call on the police to immediately arrest Adamu within 24 hours and prosecute him for the murder of Joy Odama. No matter how slow the wheels of justice may be, whether the governor is in power for four or eight years, this case would be pursued to the Supreme Court,” Ayade said.
He stated that his government had provided money for a toxicology test on Joy’s corpse, adding that additional N10m had been earmarked for the education of Joy’s siblings, while her parents would be cared for by the state Ministry of Social Development.
He disclosed that the remains would be taken to her village in the Iyala Local Government Area of Cross River State on Tuesday and interred the next day.
The Basic Right Enlightenment Foundation, which had championed justice for Odama family, said the murder suspect has been walking free “and has been emboldened by the police refusal to arrest him, leaving him to continue his nefarious activity of luring innocent girls to their doom.”
The President of the foundation, Augustine Okechukwu, threatened to embark on a protest if the police failed to prosecute Adamu within seven days.
The Spokesman for the Police Force, Jimoh Moshood, denied that the police were protecting Adamu, adding that the investigation into the murder had been concluded and the case file forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.
“We are waiting for legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. It is not true that we are shielding the suspect; that allegation is baseless,” he said.