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Delta communities protest alleged protection of fugitive by Police

Leaders across two local government areas of Delta State in Asaba have alleged that the policemen at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja are…

Leaders across two local government areas of Delta State in Asaba have alleged that the policemen at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja are attempting to scuttle ongoing trials and investigations in the alleged criminal acts of Francis Oduwanor Odiakose and his gang members.

At a press briefing which was attended by members of the Ubulu Okiti, Ogwashi-Uku, Akukwu Igbo, Edo Ogwashi and Issele Azagba communities that form the Aniocha North and Aniocha South local government areas, community leaders lamented the attempt by some officers of the FCID to pervert the cause of justice.

Recall that the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bright Edafe, in a statement in August in Asaba, declared Francis and his brother Christopher wanted in the state for conspiracy, terrorism, cultism and attempted murder.

According to Mr Tony Enurah, who is a leader of the Oganihu Otulu community, Francis along with several other gang members had been terrorising their community and neighbouring communities for several years.

According to him, the suspect is supposedly facing trial for crimes such as attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms, and assault.

He said that the suspect was granted bail in 2021 at the Delta State High Court and Magistrate courts.

He alleged that rather than attend the trials, Francis absconded.

The result was that the judges and magistrates issued bench warrants for him, he said.

He continued that Francis “now unilaterally declared himself as a traditional ruler and was driving around the community with police escorts. These policemen were used to intimidate members of the community.

“We wrote to the Delta State Government to complain about the activities of this gang. When the CP Delta invited Francis Oduwanor to answer his numerous petitions, he absconded from the state and ran to Abuja to file a petition against the Police in Delta.

“Now we are hearing that [somebody] in FCID has summoned the police in Delta and asked them to stop all criminal investigations into the fake traditional ruler, Francis Oduwanor.

“How can a man who they know is a fake traditional ruler who the state government has written to the police to explicitly state that he is a wanted man and a fraud be running around the police FCID when they know the court has issued bench warrants for failing to appear for his trials.

“The Delta State Ministry of Justice on 16th August 2022 wrote a letter to the police requesting that they bring Francis Oduwanor to court but the police in FCID have refused to comply with the court order.

“Just last week, Justice Umukoro of the Delta State High Court sentenced some of the gang members to prison for the daylight shooting of a local chief in Edo Ogwashi-Uku. The convicts have been sent to the correctional prison in Warri, Delta State.”

Mr Ifeanyi Onwaebuzie in Akukwu Igbo also lamented that: “In May 2022, Francis and his gang members came into our community to seize our land.

“They killed a youth Mr Gabobo by strangling him to death and burnt him. Despite the petition we wrote to the CP Delta, we understand that officers in Abuja have taken the file.

“They have not even called us to give our own statements. To date, we have not heard anything about our petition to investigate the death of our brother that Francis and his group killed.

“We demand justice and we will take our case to the highest people in government and protest publicly if they continue to cover him.

Elder Tony Ahamefuna Ndabai closed the press briefing by soliciting the assistance of all well-meaning journalists to bring the key issues about the criminal group to light.

When contacted for a response, the spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force, Muyiwa Adejobi, said he would find out from FCID and get back to our correspondent.

He was yet to get back as of when this report was filed at about 7:30pm.

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