The senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has reacted to his alleged ties with some persons arrested in connection with the Offa bank robbery incidents describing it as “baseless” and another plot by the police to implicate him by all means and emasculate the national assembly lawmakers.
It would be recalled that the police had earlier invited the senate president for questioning about his alleged relationship with suspects arrested in connection with bank robberies in Offa, Kwara State.
Police spokesman, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement issued on Sunday that five of the 22 suspects arrested in connection with the April 5 attack on five banks in Offa, which also led to the killing of at least 17 people, including nine police officers, confessed their allegiance to Saraki.
In a statement issued Sunday night and signed by his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the senate president said linking him with the Offa bank robbery suspects is a plot “concocted to embarrass” him.
The senate president, who said he would honour the police summons as soon as he is formally served also said “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,” he added.
Saraki’s full statement is reproduced below:
“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 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.”