The invitation of the President of Nigeria Senate and Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Nigeria Police in connection with the robbery of the Divisional Police Headquarters and six (6) banks in Offa metropolis of Kwara state that claimed the lives of more than 33 people on the 5th April, 2018, has been ge.nerating lot of furore in the media and among many Kwarans.
In the official press statement released by the Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, on the 3rd June, 2018 via a widely circulated video clip on the internet and on Channels TV, the police claimed to have recovered the following exhibits from the robbery gangs: 2 AK47 rifles, 2 barrete pistols, 1 pump action rifle,1 revolver pistol, 1 Lexus RX300 Jeep (with Registration number KWARA KMA 143 RM) belonging to the Gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun), Mercedez Benz Compressor (with Registration number LAGOS LT 496 KJA), 1 Toyota PRADO Jeep (with Registration number 19 KWGH) belonging to Alabi Olalekan (the Personal Assistant Political to Governor Fatai Ahmed), 1 sticker plate number with the inscription SARAKI, and a sum of six hundred thousand (600,000) naira, which is part of the looted cash from the bank robbery.
The arrested criminals (Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran, and and 17 others) admitted and confessed to have committed the robbery and killings. Dr. Bukola Saraki, through a response made by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity (Yusuph Olaniyonu), had advised the entire public to disregard his reported linkage to the criminals and robbery, and termed it as a baseless allegation and another ploy by the Nigeria Police to implicate him by all means.
He further described it as a concocted plot by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to embarrass him after the IGP’s refusal to honor the Senate invitation that was meant to ask questions on the rampart killings and violence across the country.
Most of Dr. Saraki’s followers also described his invitation as a sinister plot by some powerful interests in the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, to get him out of circulation ahead of 2019 general election by using the
Nigeria Police to frame him on trumped-up charges.
Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed (the Executive Governor of Kwara state), through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said that “the Kwara state government has a well-known empowerment scheme under the small and medium enterprises platform, which is used to move women and youths groups into entrepreneurship. Consequently, several youth and women groups have benefitted from the scheme to date.
However, at no point did the Kwara state government directly provide funds to any group known as good boys for any purpose. Similarly, if any of the beneficiaries chose to use the SME credit secured from the government to purchase a vehicle which was then alleged to have been used for an act of criminality, the Kwara state governor and indeed the state government cannot be held liable for such actions since neither had prior knowledge of such intentions on beneficiaries’ part.”
The Police Spokesman also disclosed via same video that the Nigeria Police Force has invited Dr. Bukola Saraki to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office in Abuja to answer to all the allegations against him by the gang leaders. Though the gang leaders confessed that they get their arms supply from a Police officer, Michael Adiku (and not directly from Senate President and State Governor), they however, unambiguously confessed that they are all political thugs of the duo of Dr. Bukola Saraki and Alh. Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara state Governor).
The gang leader, Ayodele Akinnibosun, also known as Hay-why, who is the Chairman of Liberation Youths Movement Kwara South (also known as Good Boys) said “I work for Senate President and Governor Ahmed as political mobilising youth and we have been working for long time since he was Governor of Kwara. We mobilise and do political arrangement for him in Kwara South. Where we can’t win, we make arrangement there; we scatter elections if we don’t win. The connection between the robbery and the Senate President is that for example, this car was given to me by His Excellency (Governor Ahmed) through the Chief of Staff of Kwara State as a gift from leader (Senate President). I used this Lexus car given to me for the operations in Offa robbery. We have been political thugs; that is what encouraged us to the robbery”.
Contrarily, these two political leaders of Kwara state have both denied their linkage with the arrested criminals and involvement in the robbery.
USE OF POLITICAL THUGS TO DISRUPT PEACE, TRANQUILITY, CITIZENS RIGHTS AND FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN KWARA STATE
ENetSuD cannot deny the fact that the Nigeria Police has the statutory power to invite any individual who is suspected to have committed any offence for the purpose of carrying out her investigation to determine whether criminal offence has actually been committed or not.
The only area that is actually we are concerned about is the complexity of the case and the alleged involvement of some bigwigs in Kwara state.
As a reputable and unbiased CSO in the state, ENetSuD is not in the position to comment on the alleged involvement of the Senate President and State Governor on the alleged robbery and killings of our fellow law-abiding citizens in Offa, as the matter is currently under investigation by the competent government agency (Nigeria Police).
However, we strongly frown and condemn in entirety, the use of thugs and criminals by politicians in the state to threaten the peace, tranquility, citizens’ rights and free and fair elections in the state. Our dear Kwara is popularly known as a state of harmony, and we shall continue to rise against any action by individuals or groups (no matter their positions and status) that tend to compromise our peaceful coexistence and credible elections.
FUNDING POLITICAL THUGS’ ACTIVITIES WITH KWARA TAX-PAYERS’ MONIES
It is worrisome that despite the low standards of living in Kwara state (with high rate of unemployment among the educated and ready-to-work youths) and poor welfare package for the civil servants, the government has been funding the activities of their political thugs (under the pretence of empowerment scheme as SME credit) with limited state resources obtained from tax-payers.
Thus, ENetSuD calls for the relevant agencies of government to urgently probe and investigate the
Kwara state Empowerment scheme (since 2003 to date).
While we believe in Nigeria police carrying out her duties judiciously and with impartiality, we
also urge her to desist from any action that can read political meanings and portray her as an
agent of the Federal government to hunt and bring down those that share different opinion.
Dr. Abdullateef I. ALAGBONSI, ACPA, Ph.D.