Doosuur Iwambe and Tunde Opalana, Abuja
.Found evidence linking suspects to Senate president
.Allegations baseless, but I will honour police invitation – Saraki
Drama between the Executive and Legislative arms of government assumed a dangerous dimension on Sunday as the Nigeria Police summoned Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for questioning over his alleged relationship with suspects arrested in connection with the Offa bank robbery which recently occurred in Offa, Kwara State.
The invitation, according to the police, was after five of the suspect who confessed to the crime, claimed that that they were political thugs to Saraki.
Jimoh Moshood, the Force Public Relations Officer, who disclosed this in Abuja while parading the 22 suspects in custody for the robbery, said that Saraki will be interrogated over his relationship with the suspects arrested in connection with the robbery.
According to a statement signed Moshood, the five gang leaders indicted Saraki after they confessed that they were political thugs of the Senate President and Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
The statement reads in part, “The Senate President, Sen. 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 Gang Leaders and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons which includes some pregnant women and nine Police personnel.”
But the police in the statement denied the allegations of witch-hunt by the Senate president, warning Saraki to desist from jeopardising an ongoing criminal investigation.
The police stated that the five gang leaders while giving a vivid account through their volunteered confessional statements on the robbery said that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement a.k.a “Good Boys”.
According to the statement, “the gang members admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.
“The five gang leaders, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery, according to the statement, confessed that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alh. 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 Yrs) during the bank robbery and the killing of the 33 innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin on 16th May, 2018 where the sticker number plate 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 Min. of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State. While the sticker number plate 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 is looking for the Lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa Bank Robbery and the killings 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 has been arrested and taken into Police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker number plate 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 killings of 33 innocent persons in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall Gang Commander of the Offa Bank Robbery while the Ayoade Akinnibosun was already in Police custody for more than six days before the registration of the vehicle.
“Investigation is ongoing and effort is being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large. All suspects involved will be arraigned in court for prosecution on completion of investigation”.
The statement further reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure that the rule of law prevails in every case under Police investigation and every offender is brought to justice.
The Nigeria Police Force had about two months ago arrested more than 20 principal suspects in connection with the recent bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State.
Our correspondent reports that armed robbers had attacked five commercial banks in Offa on April 5, 2018 during which 33 persons, including policemen and a pregnant woman were killed. Millions of naira were also stolen during the bank robbery.
Meanwhile, following invitation by the Nigeria Police on Sunday to Saraki over his indictment by arrested suspects fingered in the April 5, 2018 bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State, the Senate President said he will honour police invitation.
According to Saraki, he will honour the Police invitation as a law abiding citizen who has respect for the rule of law the moment he was duly served.
Saraki made the declaration on Sunday on the twitter handle of his aide on new media, Olu Onemola, hours after the invitation had been reported on social media, said he would do so as a law abiding citizen.
The media aide who made the statement on Olu W. Onemola @ OnemolaOlu on behalf of Saraki said: “As someone that respects the rule of law and constituted authorities, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has read the story going around on social media and he will honour the invitation when served”.
In another development, the Department State Services (DSS) on Sunday reportedly recalled half of its operatives assigned to Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara.
This is coming ahead of today’s talks between Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the nPDP team to be led by Dogara, of which Saraki is also a member.
A report by The Cable, an online platform, said that the security operatives attached to the two presiding officers of the National Assembly were directed to report to the DSS headquarters “with immediate effect”.
No reason was given for the withdrawal, although it is believed to have been at the instance of the presidency.
The Cable could not confirm the development from the DSS, which has not had a spokesperson since Lawal Daura was appointed its director-general in 2015.
However, sources at the National Assembly confirmed the recall of the operatives.
The nPDP had recently issued an ultimatum to the APC for a meeting, complaining that it had been marginalised by the ruling party after helping them to oust the PDP from power in 2015.
There are speculations that nPDP members will defect from the APC and present a candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 polls.