…10 man committee to meet Buhari
…IGP faults Saraki’s claim
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, raised the alarm over what he called plot by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to implicate him in a criminal matter involving arrested cultists in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He notified his colleagues at plenary on Wednesday that his state governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed informed him of plot to reinvent confessional statements made by alleged cultists arrested in Ilorin purposefully to implicate him and the state governor.
According to Saraki, the suspects, who were about to be prosecuted in Ilorin, following conclusion of investigation on allegations against them, were on the order of the IGP directed to be brought to Abuja.
After a thorough deliberation and outright condemnation of the plot to implicate Saraki, the Senate raised a 10 man committee to interface with President Muhammad Buhari on the matter and other issues against smooth relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
Members of the delegation to be led by Saraki are the Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe), the Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun), Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa Ibom). Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos) and Sen. Raji Rasaki (PDP, EKiti).
Others are Sen. Aliyu Wammakko (APC-Sokoto), Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi), Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe) and Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa).
Speaking on what made him to raise the alarm, Saraki said, “Last night, my State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed revealed to me an information at his disposal that a group of suspects who had been in police cells for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded with prosecution about to commence under the State law based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Ministry of Justice were ordered to be transferred to Abuja this morning.
“According to the information available to the Governor, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim directed the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, to immediately transfer the men to the Force Headquarters.
The plan, as the Governor was made to understand is that, under duress, the suspects would be made to alter the statements they already made in Ilorin. They will then be made to implicate the Kwara State Government, and in particular, myself, in their new statement.
“This plot is part of the strategy by the IGP Idris to settle scores over the declaration by this honourable Chamber that he is not qualified and competent to hold any public office, within and outside the country and that he is an enemy of Nigerian democracy based on his usual disrespectful conduct towards lawful authorities.
“In my own view, this plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at turning our country into a police state where top officials cannot be made to obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authorities.
“I want to bring this dangerous development to the attention of all of you my colleagues, the entire country and the international community so that you can be aware of the level of impunity in our country and the danger it constitute to our democracy”.
His colleagues also reacted to the issue with a consensus condemnation of the continued persecution of the parliamentarians.
Minority Leader , Senator Godswill Akpabio said it is a weighty issue that could further tarnish the image of the senate.
Akpabio suggested that the matter be referred to Committee on Intelligence to look into it and report back to the whole house.
But the Deputy Senate Leader, Ibn Na’Allah said the authenticity of the report could not be doubted since it came from Kwara State governor who is the state chief security officer.
While he supported the setting up of the committee, the deputy leader said it would be right for Saraki to vacate his seat for his deputy while the discussion on the issue lasted.
This was supported by the chief whip, Olusola Adeyeye and the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu took over control of proceedings.
Senator Philip Aduda (FCT) said the development is dangerous for the country’s democracy, should not be condone but condemn in entirety. He said the allegation was not against the personality of the senate president but against the institution of the senate.
Senator Sam Anyanwu said “if this can happen to the senate president, then all of us are in trouble. Nigerians need to know the persecution we are passing through now”
While commenting on the issue, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba) said each of the legislators stand the danger of being persecuted which indicates that the nation’s democracy is endangered.
In the process, he briefed the senate of his experience last week on his way to Jos, when his security details were ordered to be withdrawn by the State Commander of Mobile Police.
In the same vein, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara) narrated his own ordeal in the hands of police during the APC congress in his local government during which the Commander of Mobile Police Unit 42, Zamfara State ordered the disarming of his police detail and other personal security arranged for his protection.
Senator Isa Hamma Misau said the incident is a manifestation of concern he raised in the past that a lot of people will be victim of persecution. He said the persecution is not against the legislators but against the nation.
He alleged that there are lot of security organisations behind the spate of persecution apart from the Nigeria Police and that it was simply the issue of playing politics with the 2019 election.
“This is part of the hazard of politics that we are going to face in as much as we continue to do our work constitutionally. We can’t continue to work under intimidation. People have been earmarked for persecution”, he said.
Senator Sola Adeyeye suggested a 7-man committee comprising a chairman and one member from each geopolitical zone while the House of Representatives should nominate 6 members to investigate the issue. This was supported by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos).
Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo) said rather than foot dragging in setting up investigative committee, the leadership of the senate should pick a representative to interface with President Buhari on this all important matter.
His suggestion was supported by senators Adamu Abdullahi, Tayo Alasoadura while the deputy senate president suggested names of members to meet with Buhari.
In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu said “we all know that the Parliament is the temple of democracy.
“We have the responsibility to our people not only to preserve our democracy but to also ensure that it is purified.
“What the Senate President has raised today is an exposure of some of the things that are wrong with our democracy which we need to halt.
“So we need to ensure there is rule of laws and we need to ensure that we respect our various rights.
“We are a country that is bound by conventions, laws, culture and tradition.
“So it is our responsibility as a Parliament to ensure that we protect the rights of our citizens to ensure that we make progress as a nation especially on the issues of human rights and democracy,” he said.
Members of the team that will interface with Buhari are : Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye,Minority Whip Philip Aduda, Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu, Aliyu Wammako, Sam Egwu, Fatima Raji-Rasaki and Oluremi Tinubu.
But the police has denied claim by Saraki that the is trying to implicate him in murder cases under investigations in Kwara State.
The IGP also said that he is shocked by Saraki claims in a statement titled “Plot against him by IGP” in which unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations were being peddled against him by the Senate President.
Idris also said that there was no iota of truth in Saraki allegations that plot and strategies against him are to settle scores.
The IGP stated this in statement made available on Wednesday by the Force Public Relations officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood while reacting to Saraki’s allegation.
Faulting the claims of the Senate’s President, the IGP said there was no iota of truth in the allegations against him, saying that, “nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct Police investigation to pervert the course of justice.”
The statement added that the force is investigating killing in Kwara State in which six suspects: Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin, Lanre Mohammed Soliu a.k.a Askari of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin, Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin, Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin, Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin and Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin have been arrested.
Moshood further disclosed that until investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.
The Force spokesman also said that the suspects, who were paraded on May 11, 2018, have confessed to various crimes including the killings of 11 innocent persons in Kwara State and other States of the federation, saying, “That the victims were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors”.
The police named the victims who were killed in cold blood and the date of the incidence as (Bukola Ajikobi killed on 18/01/2016 at Ajikobi Area in Ilorin, Azeez Lawal killed in February, 2018 at Oja Oba area of Ilorin, (Lateef -Surname unknown) killed February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin.
Others were Jamiu (Surname unknown) killed in February 2018 at Idi Ape Area, Ilorin, one Segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at Kankatu area of Ilorin, Wasiu (Surname unknown) killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao garage of Ilorin, Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area, Ilorin and Bayo Ajia killed in January 18, 2018 at Taiwo Road, Ilorin.
The rest were Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin, Abbey a student of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin and Lanre (Surname unknown) killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.
He said that those arrested in connection with the killings have been transferred to the Force Headquarters for further investigation and to ensure a thorough and discreet investigation into the crimes.
He said there is no vested interest by the IGP in the ongoing investigation into the several murders committed by the killer gang, other than ensuring that justice prevails in the matter.
The statement reads in part, ” It is also imperative to let the public know that last year, suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in Ile-Ife, Osun State and those arrested in Southern Kaduna crisis in Kaduna State and suspects arrested in connection with Zaki-biam killings in Benue State were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation before they were arraigned in court of competent jurisdiction.
“Therefore, transferring this hired assassin gang masquerading as cultists in Kwara State to Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation is in accordance with Police investigation procedures.”
The police therefore warned that the statement credited to the Senate President can dissuade and discourage living victims/deceased families of those who must have been killed by this vicious hired assassin gang from coming forward to give evidence against them.
The police urged the public to disregard and discountenance the claim of plot by the IGP against the Senate President as a ruse, adding that it is an attempt to divert police investigation into the killings by the killer squad who operate under the guise of a cult group.
The Force spokesman added that the police will leave no stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored.