Police summon Saraki over Offa bank robbery

• IGP on frame up mission, says Senate president
• Persecution may collapse democracy, says HURIWA

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has invited Senate President Bukola Saraki to answer allegations surrounding his alleged link with persons behind the deadly robbery of some banks in Offa in April.Five principal suspects among 15 others, who were paraded at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, in connection with the incident, had indicted the Senate President in their statements.

Saraki, however, denied the allegation. In a statement by his spokesman, Yusuf Olaniyonu, he said: “Members of the public will remember that on May 16, 2018, I alerted the Senate about the information passed on to me by my state governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, over a plot by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to frame me up by getting some suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin to implicate me. It is believed that the timely leakage of the plot in that case aborted the use of the suspected cultists to implicate me. Now, it is the Offa bank robbery suspects that are about to be used.

“This plot is concocted to embarrass me. And in the mind of the IGP, it is his own response to the action taken by the Senate against him after his refusal to honour the invitation by the National Assembly, headed by me, for him to come and offer explanations on the rampant killings and violence across the country.“As a person who has utmost respect for the rule of law and all constitutional institutions, when the invitation from the police is formally extended to me, I will be ready to honour it without any delay.”

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, yesterday, said: “Senate President Bukola Saraki has been invited to report to the police to answer allegations indicting him from confessions of five gang leaders arrested for active participation in Offa bank robbery and killing of 33 innocent persons.

“The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, is being invited by the Nigeria Police Force to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja, to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the five robbery gang leaders.” He said the gang leaders and some of the principal suspects arrested for their role in the robbery and the killing of innocent persons had made confessional statements admitting to the various criminal roles they and their sponsors played in this crime.

“During interrogation, the five gang leaders in paragraph 2 further confessed and volunteered statements that they carried out the bank robberies, the attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters in Offa and the killing of 33 innocent persons during the robbery of the banks.“The five gang leaders further confessed during investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement (a.k.a. “Good Boys”) and also admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.”

“In the course of discreet investigation into the confessions of these five gang leaders and the other 17 principal suspects, a Lexus Jeep GX-300 (Ash Colour) with a sticker plate number with inscription  “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” used by the gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun ‘M’ 37 years) during the bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin on May 16, 2018 where the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” was removed before another plate number (Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM) registered in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall commander of the Offa bank robbery, was then attached to the vehicle to cover up the identity of the said vehicle.

“The exhibit vehicle was subsequently recovered from the premises of the Ministry of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State while the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” removed from the vehicle was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the said Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin immediately after the bank robbery.

“The Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan, who is privy to information that the police were looking for the Lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons directed one Adeola Omiyale to relocate the Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin. The PA (Political) is currently in police custody and has made useful statement assisting the police in further investigation into the case. A revolver pistol and pump action gun were recovered by the police investigation team from the Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan’s farm where he directed his brother to hide them after his arrest by the police.

“In order to conceal evidence, the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Yusuf Abdulwahab, who had been arrested and taken into police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” from the exhibit vehicle and also registered the exhibit Lexus Jeep used in the Offa bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall gang commander of the Offa bank robbery while he (Ayoade Akinnibosun) was already in police custody for more than six days before the registration of the vehicle,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Saraki might have resolved to seek a legal battle against the police over his indictment on the Offa robbery saga.He was said to have commenced search for adequate legal counsel before taking any action on the matter.This is part of the several options he is said to be considering following declaration by the police that he had been mentioned by the suspects in connection with the robbery that took place in Offa.

Aside from his indictment by the police on the matter, the Senate President also had some men of the Department of State Services (DSS) attached to his office withdrawn.Although no official statement has emanated from the Senate President on the two incidents, unofficial sources in the National Assembly confirmed the withdrawal of the security men.

The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media Affairs, Yusuf Olaniyonu, who had hinted that a press statement should be expected from the Senate President’s office, could not be unreached when calls were made to him.

In another development, a pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said that the persecution of Saraki and other party stalkers by the Executive arm may hinder democracy in the country.

HURIWA, in a statement issued by its National Co-ordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko in Abuja, yesterday, against the backdrop of the press statement from the police indicting the Senate President as a potential suspect, said: “We in the organised civil rights community are hereby asking Nigerians not to sit back idly and laugh over the sinister scenarios that are being weaved dangerously together with the absolutely and ruthlessly anarchic hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force under the current dictatorship.

“Nigerians from all over the world must speak out before the democracy that we fought so hard to bring about is allowed to collapse into fascism before our faces. The time to speak out is now.”