Senate President Bukola Saraki has called for the probe of the death of the leader of the gang that robbed five banks and killed 32 people in Offa on April 5.
Michael Adikwu, who is alleged to be a political thug of Saraki is reported by the police to have died and could not be arraigned along with four other suspects.
Adikwu who had confessed to the robbery was also explicitly captured by the CCTV cameras installed in one of the banks during the robbery.
Saraki in a statement signed on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into how and when the principal suspect died in police custody.
“Following eventual disclosure by the Police that Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, on April 5, 2018, is dead, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into the ‘how and when’ the suspect died.”
The Senate President added that the new disclosure by the police has vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in police custody and that the investigation was politically motivated to implicate him, Governor Abdul-Fatai Ahmed and a few others.
“It should be recalled that when we mentioned it that the principal suspect had been murdered and that investigation into the Offa robbery attack was politically motivated and targeted at implicating me and other individuals, the Police Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh said: ‘Michael Adikwu is in Police custody.
“You know that he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. The firearms that were carted away, he is helping the police in the investigation to recover them. There is a state in the South-west where they kept him. I can’t mention the state. It is in one of the South-west states’.
“The fresh facts have now thrown more light into why there had been inconsistencies in the various statements by the police. The Police initially told the Attorney-General of Kwara State that the principal suspect was alive and they only later reluctantly disclosed that he died in the course of the arrest.
“How can a suspect confirmed to be in custody now be said to have died in the course of arrest? This contradiction shows a deliberate attempt to cover up something,” he said.
Saraki added that an inquiry into the death would help to thoroughly examine and interrogate how the investigation into the robbery incident was conducted by the police and whether the investigation followed the normal process and complied with global best practices.
Saraki had been invited by the police to throw more light on the allegation from the confession made by some of the suspects.
The robbery suspects alleged that they were associates of Saraki and Governor of Kwara state.
Saraki had made a statement to the police, in respect of the investigation into the multiple robberies in Offa on 5 April.
The police said Senate President “made cautionary statement to the Police Investigation Team investigating the case of Offa bank robbery that occurred on 5th April, 2018”.
The Inspector General of Police had invited Saraki to report to the Head of investigation team, of the Intelligence Response Team ( IRT) on July 24 at 8 a.m. in Guzape, Abuja. But Saraki ignored the invitation until Thursday 26 July.
The police had on 4 June asked for Saraki’s reaction to the statement made by some of the suspects arrested in connection to the most deadly robbery in the history of Nigeria. Saraki wrote a statement dated 7 June.
Idris ruled the statement inadequate.
“After a careful perusal of your letter to the Police, it was discovered that the statement requires further clarification and coupled with the fact that you stated that the full text of the statements of the suspects were not shown to you, it is imperative you report to the Police to make further statements after giving you the full text of the statements of the suspects.
“It is in line with the above that you are requested to report to the head of the Investigation Team at the Intelligence Response Team at Guzape Junction, Asokoro Extension, Abuja on 24th of July, 2018 at 8am for further investigation on the matter.”
In a response, Saraki described the invitation as a mere afterthought which is designed to achieve political purpose.
“The Police have obviously corrupted and politicized their investigations into the Offa robbery incident. They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witch-hunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambition and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.
” I want to make it apparent that I have no hand in either the robbery incident or any criminal acitivity. The Police in their haste to embarrass me sent the invitation to me at 8pm and requested that I report to the station by 8am tomorrow morning. This obviously demonstrated their desperation as I do not see why they are now in a hurry.”, Saraki said.
The invitation was later to be mired in controversy as a report by the Ministry of Justice was leaked to the media. The report by the Office of Federal Prosecutor said the Police had no evidence to hang any charge on Saraki, in connection with the robberies in which 31 people were killed same day.
The police clarified the position of the federal prosecutor, Samuel Ogundipe:
“It is incumbent on the Force to educate the writer of the story that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of the Federation in the legal advice did not restrain or restrict the Force from investigating further, the indictments against the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfattah Ahmed by the principal suspects arrested in connection with the Offa bank robbery of 5th April, 2018.
“The DPP advice did not exonerate the Senate President, it only called for further investigations into the matter
“It is in the course of further investigations into the case that a letter of invitation dated 23rd July, 2018 was sent to the Senate President to appear on 24th July, 2018 at 8.00am before the Investigation Team at Intelligence Response Team office, Guzape Junction, Abuja.
” Consequently, the Force is hereby re-affirming that the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki has case to answer by virtue of the facts that the statements submitted by the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki earlier to the Investigation Team was not explicit and detailed enough, and was discovered to require further clarifications and interrogation, and coupled with the fact the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki in his statement, claimed that the full text of the statement of the suspects who indicted him in their confessional statements to the Police was not shown to him. It is therefore, imperative for the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki to report to the Police to make further statement after sighting the full text of the statement of the suspects”.
Some elders in Kwara had also called on Saraki, to allow the police do their investigations into robbery.
The elders also want diligent prosecution of everyone mention in the case as “this is not the first time a top politician would be accused, investigated and found culpable of aiding and abetting crimes”.
They referred to the case of Bacita robbery of 1971 in which the suspects implicated S.T Oredehin. After police investigation, Oredehin was tried alongside the robbery suspects by a court of competent jurisdiction, found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.”
The Kwara elders, under the auspices of Kwara Elders’ Unity Forum, also called on the Inspector General of Police to carry out thorough investigation into case so that justice will be done on the matter.
Dr. Saliu Ajia, Chief Isiaka Jimoh and Mr. Adebayo Daramola, all representing Kwara Central, North and South Senatorial districts respectively, made the call in a statement on Friday.
The elders said that revelations and political colourations being given to the confessions of the arrested suspects showed that “the lives of Kwara people are in danger and must be protected”.