Police Invitation: Offa Community, Youths, Others Defend, Absolve Saraki
By Steve Oni, Ilorin
The people of Offa in Kwara state, the scene of the bloody armed robbery attacks of April 5, this year, have stated that they did not agree that the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had anything to do with the incident.
This is just as coalition of Kwara youths under the aegis of Kwara Agenda, asked the federal government and the Nigeria Police to stop politicising the Offa robbery incident.
Also, elders of Ajikobi Central Ward in the Ilorin West local government area of the state, where Saraki hails from said that they received with shock the invitation of the Senate President by the police in respect of the unfortunate Offa armed robbery attack.
High Chief Bayo Akinola, who addressed newsmen in Offa on Monday on behalf of Olofa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, said that the community had left “what has happened to God, but we don’t want the innocent to be punished. We want police to go after the real culprits”.
High Chief Akinola’s view was corroborated by the national General Secretary of Offa Descendants Union (ODU), Chief Atinuke Wosilat McCarty.
The elders of Ajikobi Central, in a statement signed by their coordinator, Alhaji Salihu AbdulWahab Agbaji, said that, ” it is illogical and unthinkable that the Senate President and the political leader of Kwara state will ask bandits to kill the citizens that he leads.
“‘The plot against our son is as a result of his growing popularity across the country, a situation which is making some of his political rivals uncomfortable. We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently call the Inspector General of Police to order so as to allow our hard earned democracy to blossom.”
Members of the coalition of Kwara youths during a peaceful protest from the hinterland of Ilorin metropolis to the Press Centre of the NUJ in GRA, condemned the invitation extended to Saraki by the police over the Offa robbery incident.
The youths, in their hundreds, carried placards with various inscriptions, such as “Stop evil politics,” Be professional”, “No to over politicisation of Offa robbery”, “Saraki is not an armed robber’, “Don’t implicate Saraki.”
Addressing newsmen, the coordinator, Kwara Agenda, Haruna Yakub Kannike, said that the group was surprised by police invitation of Saraki over Offa robbery incident, adding that, “nothing can be farther from the truth!”.
He added: “Our attention has been drawn to a fresh plot by the Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja to implicate the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki in the April 5,2018 dastardly armed robbery attacks on banks in Offa, Kwara state. During the robbery operation that shook Offa to its foundation many innocent citizens including nine policemen were murdered by the bandit.
“Prominent Nigerians have blamed the wanton killings of harmless citizens in Offa on that BLACK Day on the inefficiency of men and officers of the Nigeria Police.
“We are, however, surprised to see the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris wanting to politicize a serious criminal offence by insinuating that our revered Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and our amiable Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had links with five of the arrested armed robbery suspects. Nothing can be farther from the truth!
“It’s instructive to note that this latest ploy to frame Dr Bukola Saraki came after an earlier failed attempt by the Force Headquarters to frame our leader in a murder case involving some suspected cultists. The Senate President had on May 16,2018 during a plenary in the Senate intimated his colleagues about the plot by the police to frame him up in the murder case. When that attempt failed, following public outcry, the police is now concocting another cock and bull story just to nail Saraki at all cost.
“It is on record that Saraki, because of his love for the people of Offa was the first public officer to visit us after the robbery incident, condoled with us and gave us succour.
“We are also pleased that the Senate President has dissociated himself from the armed robbery suspects and expressed his willingness to honour the police invitation whenever he’ s duly invited.
“What is more, the Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has also refuted police allegations of sponsoring, funding, arming or otherwise supporting political thuggery.
“Ahmed has dismissed the allegations against him as false and rejected his alleged indictment by the Nigeria Police or the armed robbery suspects in their custody.
“He affirmed that while the state government has empowered several youth groups under its acclaimed Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) scheme neither he nor the statement government can be held liable for how beneficiaries utilize the credit. He therefore urged the police to complete their investigations and charge the suspects to court soon in line with the dictates of the rule of law.
“We are also pleased to note that the duspected gang leader had during an interview with newsmen in Abuja confessed that “one ex -dismissed police officer Michael Adikwu was the one that comes with armunitions”.
“On the alleged involvement of Dr Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on the robbery incident, the suspected gang leader said “No! They did not send us for the robbery but because we are their political thugs , that’s what led us to the robbery.It is devil that pushed us”.
“We want to use this forum to make it clear to the police hierarchy that Saraki is our leader and a law abiding citizen whose passion is to improve the lots of the common man. He should be left alone to continue the good job he and his colleagues are doing at the National Assembly.
“We are therefore warning those behind this fresh plot to frame and tarnish the image of our leader to retrace their steps. We have no doubt in our mind that this fresh plot like the ones before it shall fail woefully.
“Dr Bukola Saraki remains committed to the cause of the Nigerian masses, and their prayers and support shall always keep him going and ensure this victory over his adversaries.”