Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has reacted to his invitation by the Nigeria Police Force over the recent bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State, describing it as baseless.
He alleged that the plot was designed to embarrass him, and would fail.
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, had, earlier on Sunday, announced the invitation of Saraki over the bank robbery, claiming that some of the leaders of the robbery gang had implicated him.
“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 (5) Gang Leaders, namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran and some of the other Seventeen (17) suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of THIRTY THREE (33) innocent persons which include (some pregnant women and nine (9) Police personnel),” Moshood said.
But reacting in a statement issued by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said the invitation was designed to embarrass him.
According to him, he said it was a bid to implicate him by all means.
He however said that whenever the invitation was extended to him, he would honour it.
The statement reads:
The attention of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has been drawn to a story circulating online and apparently derived from a Press Conference addressed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moshood Jimoh, linking him (Saraki) to the Offa robbery.
Dr. Saraki will want the entire public to disregard this claim as a baseless allegation and another ploy by the Police to implicate him by all means.
“Let it be known that there is no way I could have been associated with armed robbery against my people. When the Offa robbery incident happened, I was the first top public official to pay a visit to the place and right there in the palace of the traditional ruler, I put a call through to this same Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the IGP, requesting him to make certain specific security arrangements as demanded by the people.
“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. Abdulfatai 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 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.
“Like the earlier one, this frame-up will also fail as I hereby state categorically that I have no link with any band of criminals.
“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.
“It is however sad that this abuse of the criminal investigation process aimed at intimidating and over-overawing the legislature, thereby obstructing it from doing its work, is a big threat to our democracy “, the Senate President stated
It would be recalled that about three weeks ago, Saraki raised the alarm that there were plans by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to implicate him.
Addressing his colleagues at the Senate, Saraki said: “My distinguished colleagues, there is an issue which I need to bring to your attention very urgently. 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 in Kwara State 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.”