Offa robbery: Police grill Saraki in National Assembly

Offa robbery: Police grill Saraki in National Assembly

- Nigerian Police has interrogated Senate president Bukola Saraki over Offa robbery

- The interrogation took place in the National Assembly on Thursday, July 26, due to Saraki's inability to honour the police invitation over his alleged links to the robbery

- Some suspected armed robbers had on April 5, killed about 20 people including a pregnant woman during the Offa robbery

A team of detectives from the Nigeria police interrogated Senate president Bukola Saraki, at his office in the National Assembly complex on Thursday, July 26.

The Punch reports that Saraki’s special assistant on new media, Olu Onemola, made it known on his Twitter handle. gathered that he affirmed that the Senate president met with a team of investigators on the Offa robbery case in his office.

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He tweeted: “Further to the invitation to the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Police on July 23, 2018, and his written response to them on July 24, 2018, on why he could not see them that day; today at about 1:40 pm, the Senate president met with a team of investigators on the Offa robbery case in his office.

“Dr Saraki used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that he had nothing to do with either the robbery incident on April 5, 2018, or any other criminal activity.”

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had on Monday, July 23, invited Saraki to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja, for interrogation over alleged links to the masterminds of the crime.

The IGP, in a letter dated July 23, asked Saraki to report to the police on Tuesday, July 24, at 8am to provide further clarification on his relationship with the five leaders of the robbery gang who attacked banks in Offa, Kwara state.

It was reported that Saraki had on Tuesday, July 24, written to the IG, explaining why he could no honour his invitation.

In the letter, Saraki gave reasons why he could not honour the invitation on Tuesday, including an instruction by President Muhammadu Buhari that the police should send their personnel to him for questioning or take his defence in writing.

He wrote: “You will recall that Mr President had earlier directed as a courtesy to this office, that in the event of any request for further information from me, you should either send your personnel to my office or obtain a written response from me.

"I need to place on record as well that following the incident of being harassed and threatened at my residence by the police early this morning, I am deeply concerned over my physical security.”

Before Saraki’s meeting with the detectives, the police had refuted reports that the Director of Public Prosecutions exonerated Saraki of alleged involvement in the robbery incident.

The Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, stated that the DPP legal advice simply directed the police to carry out further investigations into the matter.

He said: “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 8am before the Investigation Team at the Intelligence Response Team Office, Guzape Junction, Abuja.”

The police had alleged that the suspects had a direct link to Saraki and the Kwara state Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, insisting that the two men provided arms and supplied a Lexus SUV to the gang which were used in the bank robberies.

“For the Senate president and the Kwara state governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged offence and the suspects. Hence, it is our advice that further and thorough investigation in this regard be carried out,” Mohammed had stated in his legal advice on the case.

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The DPP advised the police to establish whether the robberies were carried out at the instance of Saraki and Ahmed.

Meanwhile, had previously reported that the Force Headquarters said that the Senate president Bukola Saraki has a case to answer in connection with the April 5 armed bank robbery in Offa, Kwara, which claimed 31 lives.

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