There appears to be serious tension in Delta State as community and youth leaders across two local governments today at a fully attended press briefing with journalists in Asaba accused the police at the FCID Abuja of bias and attempts to scuttle ongoing trials and investigations in the criminal acts of gang leader, Francis Oduwanor and his gang members.
At the 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 governments, community leaders lamented the brazen attempt by one DSP Idowu Sunday and his colleagues in the FCID to pervert the cause of justice.
According to Mr Tony Enurah who is a leader of the Oganihu Otulu community, Francis Oduwanor along with several other gang members had been terrorising their community and neighbouring communities for several years.
According to him, he is supposedly facing trial for crimes such as attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms, and assault.
He said that he was granted bail in 2021 at the Delta State High Court and Magistrate courts for his crimes.
He alleged that rather than attend the trials, he has absconded and never attended his trials.
The result was that the judges and magistrates issued bench warrants for him, he said.
He continued: “This criminal 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 to his numerous petitions, he absconded from the state and ran to Abuja to file a petition against the Police in Delta. He claims he gave the police in Abuja 35million Naira to work for him and to stop any investigation into his activities.
“Now we are hearing that the DSP Sunday Idowu 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 he has court issued bench warrants for failing to appear for his trials. Francis is claiming he has paid the police in Abuja to withdraw all the cases he has in court and they should not arrest him even if he commits murder. This is how low we have sunk as a country. Instead of the police to return the fugitive back to the courts to face his trial, they are escorting him around their offices and they are supposed to be the highest investigating arm of the police. We hear that even in their offices, Francis Oduwanor was insulting the Delta State police officers who were summoned to meet them. He was threatening them that they will loose their jobs if they attempt to arrest him again. As far as we are concerned, the constitution does not give this fugitive criminal any immunity and we will not sit quietly while DSP Idowu Sunday and his supervisor one CSP Haijia’ scuttle the cases.
“From our discreet findings, Francis Oduwanor has been charged with various crimes for which he is supposed to be standing trial. He has apparently not shown up in court leading to court issued bench warrants. 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 about the issues regarding the police interference with cases involving Francis Oduwanor. According to him, ‘Francis Oduwanor has a doctorate degree in criminality. What he does whenever you petition him to the state police is to run to Abuja to get the case withdrawn and then you never hear about the case again. He has done this several times. 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. Till date, we have not heard anything about our petition to investigate the death of our brother that Francis and his group killed. Francis is a master at petitioning everyone. He always wants to be the petitioner and he goes to give vast amounts of money to the police so they do not act. He says that the police in Abuja work for him. We demand justice and we will take our case to the highest people in government and protest publicly if they continue to cover this criminal.
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.
According to him, ‘ we know the sole goal of the police at the FCID is simply to take the files with the Delta State police and then keep them away so nothing happens to Francis so he cannot be held accountable for his crimes. It is quite ridiculous that they will make an indiscriminate request to the police in Delta to withdraw all cases against this fugitive. They have not even reviewed the cases. They are simply trying to intimidate the police in the state so Francis doesn’t answer for his numerous crimes. We will not relent in our effort to stop this absurdity. Justice will prevail. They are not God’
The community leaders distributed at the press briefing certified copies of letters written by the Delta State government Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs and Aniocha South local government to the Delta State Police Commissioner confirming that Francis Oduwanor was not a traditional ruler. Also distributed at the press briefing were copies of various warrants for Francis Oduwanor from the Delta State High Court and Magistrate courts.”
In his response to questions posed to them during the press briefing, youth leader Sunday Onochie stated as follows. “This declared wanted fugitive by Delta state Government and various courts in Delta state Francis Oduwanor has apparently relocated to Abuja police headquarters to avoid being arrested by the Delta police officers and he is being protected by one DSP Idowu Sunday and his colleagues in the FCID Abuja. Francis is bragging that he paid over 35 million Naira, money which we know was obtained from robbery, murder, kidnapping, gun running and illegal land grabbing. This criminal fugitive Francis we understand is even allowed to use officers mess hall and offices at FCID office in Abuja. This wanted fugitive from justice Francis Oduwanor is a regular fixture at the FCID Office In Abuja in company of DSP Idowu Sunday.
“When Delta police officers tracked and arrested Francis from the police headquarters mess in Abuja and took him to Delta State to be arraigned in court. DSP Idowu Sunday sent a police signal demanding that the fugitive criminal Francis be returned to Abuja and upon returning to Abuja fugitive criminal Francis was granted police bail and was never retuned back to Delta State to stand trial for murder, attempted murder, gun running, armed robbery, kidnapping, Terrorism etc. Since DSP Idowu Sunday and his colleagues have according to Francis collected 35 million Naira from fugitive Francis and vowed to protect him from facing court charges. The Youths of various communities are now talking about taking the laws into their own hands to protect their communities and families from Francis gangs which will definitely result in massive communal blood bath. We are informing Nigeria and the world that those protecting fugitive Francis and his gang at FCID ABUJA will be responsible for any loss of life and destruction in the event that the communities choose to confront this police protected gangs,” he said.
Our correspondent has tried to reach the PRO of the Delta State DSP Bright Edafe for his comments without any success.
Attempts are being made to also reach the police spokesman in Force headquarters for his comments.
As at the time of writing this report, we have not been successful.