The Police Force has assured the public that the probe against Saraki is not politically-motivated but a "purely criminal case".
The Nigeria Police Force has announced that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is still under probe for his connection to the gang that killed 33 people during a robbery attack in Offa, Kwara State in April.
Nine police officers and at least 24 others lost their lives when a group of around 30 armed robbers attacked Union Bank, Eco Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank and Ibolo Micro Finance Bank, as well as the Owode Police Station in Offa, Kwara State, on April 5, 2018.
After 22 suspects were arrested in connection to the robbery, Police authorities had paraded the main gang leaders as Ayoade Akinnibosun (aka, AY), Ibikunle Ogunleye (aka Arrow), Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, and Niyi Ogundiran.
During the course of investigations, the main gang leader, Akinnibosun, named Saraki and incumbent Kwara governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, as his gang's political sponsors. Days after the first parade of the suspects in Abuja, the police paraded the gang leaders again and disclosed that two more suspects had implicated the senate president as a sponsor of political thuggery.
Saraki was involved in a public spat with the Police in July after he was invited for questioining over the allegations. That spat has now resurfaced after the revelation this week that one of the prime suspects in the case died in Police detention while undergoing questioning.
Police authorities had revealed that Michael Adikwu, a former police officer who killed 22 people during the Offa robbery attack, slumped and died in custody, leading to public outcry as to the circumstances of his death.
In a statement by Saraki's spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the senate president called for an inquiry into the circumstances of Adikwu's death. He also said his mysterious death proves that the authorities are simply using the robbery incident to politically sabotage him.
"We believe the answer to these questions will help the country to address the issue of human rights abuse, extra-judicial killing, manipulation of criminal investigation to achieve political end, deliberate attempt to cover up some facts and how skewed investigation of crime can impact on successful prosecution of suspects," the statement read.
Police say Saraki still on the hook
In reaction to Saraki's statement, Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said Adikwu's death does not vindicate Saraki in any way.
The Police explained that Adikwu is not linked to the case it is building against the Saraki; therefore, his death does not change the status of his probe. Moshood said the five gang leaders who have indicted Saraki are alive and already arraigned before an Ilorin High Court in Kwara.
Moshood also assured the public that the probe against Saraki is not politically-motivated but a "purely criminal case".
The statement partly read, "Consequent on all the above, a thorough and discreet investigation was concluded by the Police into the matter and all the Five (5) gang leaders namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery that indicted and implicated Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President Federal Republic of Nigeria in the Offa Bank Robbery are alive and now in Court.
"The indictment of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki from the confessions of the Five (5) gang leaders namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery was not politically motivated as alleged by Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki to the media, but purely criminal case.
"It should be of serious concern to all, that human life is sacrosanct and where investigation has been concluded and suspects arraigned in Court, judicial process must be exhausted and not hindered for the law to take its course in ensuring justice for the families of more than Thirty Three (33) innocent persons including pregnant women that were gruesomely murdered in cold blood by Michael Adikwu and the Five (5) gang leaders Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran arrested, investigated and currently standing trial for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery, than for any individual(s) or any group to attempt futile efforts and desperate distractions to pervert the end of justice is most unfair to the families of the deceased, the State and the society at large."
Saraki's alleged connection to the gang includes a Lexus jeep GX-300, which was used during the robbery, which Akinnibosun claimed was a gift from the senate president which he received through Ahmed's Chief of Staff, Yusuf Abdulwahab, who was also arrested in connection to the robbery.
Furthermore, the Police alleged that all the five gang leaders that confessed to having a direct connection to Saraki were also at his daughter's wedding ceremony in Abuja.
Moshood also claimed that Akinnibosun, Ogunleye and Abraham followed the senate president to the Olofa of Offa's palace when he paid a condolence visit to the town after the bank robbery.The Police Force has also claimed that the gang leaders confessed to have been sponsored by Saraki and Governor Ahmed with firearms, money and operational vehicles.
In the IGP's letter of invitation to Saraki in July, the Police alleged that the last financial handout Akinnibosun got directly from the senate president was the sum of N500,000.