The Senate yesterday mandated Senate President Bukola Saraki to lead a 10-man delegation to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged crackdown on Senators. Senate resolution followed the alarm raised by Saraki over alleged attempt by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to implicate him in a criminal matter.
But in a swift reaction, the Nigeria Police Force refuted the allegation made by the Senate president, saying they are misleading and untrue.
At plenary yesterday, Senators expressed their views on reported cases of police intimidation, threat and harassments for views being expressed on the floor of the Senate brought to their attention by some of their colleagues.
Members of the 10-man delegation to meet with President Buhari are Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan; Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye; Minority Whip, Godswill Akpabio; Senators Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos); Raji Rasaki (APC-Ekiti), Aliyu Wammakko (APC-Sokoto), Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi), Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe) and Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa).
It all began when Saraki told his colleagues that Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, had drawn his attention to an alleged plan by the IGP to force some suspects to implicate him in a criminal matter. He said the governor of his home state informed him that some suspects who were arrested in Kwara for cultism were allegedly ordered by Idris to Abuja to force them into altering their statements.
His words: “According to information available to the Governor, the Inspector General of Police directed the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to immediately transfer the men to the Force Headquarters
“The plan as the Governor was made to understand is that under duress, the suspects would be made to alter the statements already made in Ilorin. They will be made to implicate the Kwara State Government and myself in particular in their new statement.
“This plot is part of the strategy by the IGP to settle scores over the declaration by this honourable Chamber that he is not qualified and competent to hold any public office. In my view, this plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at turning our country into a Police State.
“The tactics is aimed at turning the country into a state where top officials cannot be made to obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authorities.
“I want to bring this dangerous development to the attention of all of you, the entire country and the international community so that you can be aware of the level of impunity in our country and the danger it constitutes to our democracy”.
Contributing, deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’ Allah said the matter should be treated with the seriousness it deserves because for the matter to come from the Chief Security Officer of Kwara State, it should be taken seriously.
He called for the setting up of a committee to investigate the matter, adding that, “in view of the fact that Saraki is involved, he should step down for Ekweremadu to preside on setting up of the committee.” Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) said the committee should comprise of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in view of the fact that Saraki is the chairman of the National Assembly.
The Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, said the committee should comprise of seven lawmakers with each from each of the six geopolitical zones.
He added that the House of Representatives should be intimated on the development and advised to do same if they so wished.
Senator Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) lamented that lawmakers are being intimidated from carrying out their responsibilities.
In his remark, deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said, “We all know that the Parliament is the temple of democracy. We have the responsibility to our people not only to preserve our democracy but to also ensure that it is purified.
“What the Senate President has raised today is an exposure of some of the things that are wrong with our democracy, which we need to halt. So, we new to ensure there is rule of laws and we need to ensure that we respect our various rights.
“We are a country that is bound by conventions, laws, culture and tradition. So, it is our responsibility as a Parliament to ensure that we protect the rights of our citizens to ensure that we make progress as a nation, especially on the issues of human rights and democracy”.
Allegation Not True -Police
But the Nigeria Police Force yesterday refuted the allegation made by Senate President, Saraki that IGP Idris was planning to implicate him in a criminal case.
Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jimoh Moshood, who refuted the allegation in a statement said the Force was shocked at Saraki’s claims, which he described as unbelievable, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations being peddled against the IGP.
He said, “There is no iota of truth in the allegation and false assertion by the Senate President of plot against him by the IGP to implicate the Kwara State Government and the Senate President in any criminal matter. Until investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.
“To set the records straight, the Kwara State Police Command on the 11th of May, 2018, paraded the following suspects before the Media and the Public, namely: Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin; Lanre Mohammed Soliu (aka Askari) of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin; Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin; Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin; Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin and Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin.
“The suspects admitted and confessed before the press and the public to have killed eleven innocent persons in kwara State and other states of the country. The victims, according to the suspects, were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors.
“Names of victims killed in cold blood are Bukola Ajikobi, killed on 18/01/2016 at Ajikobi Area in Ilorin; Azeez Lawal, killed in February, 2018 at Oja oba area of Ilorin; Lateef (Surname unknown), killed in February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin; Jamiu (Surname unknown), killed in February 2018 at Idi Ape area, Ilorin; Segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at kankatu area of Ilorin; Wasiu (Surname unknown), killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao garage of Ilorin; Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area Ilorin; Bayo Ajia, killed in January 18, 2018 at Taiwo Road, Ilorin; another Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin; Abbey, a student of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin and Lanre (Surname unknown), killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.”
Moshood noted that consequent upon the public confessions of the vicious and notorious killer squad to the killing of more than 11 innocent people in Kwara State and other states of the federation, the statutory procedure and practice in the Force is that such a heinous crime and capital offence is transferred to the Force headquarters for further investigation.
This, he said, is to enable a thorough and discreet investigation into the crime.
He continued: “However, it is pertinent to state that there is no vested interest by the Inspector General of Police in the ongoing investigation into the several murders committed by this killer gang, other than ensuring that justice prevails in the matter.
“Nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct Police investigation to pervert the course of justice.
“It is also imperative to let the public know that last year, suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in Ile-Ife, Osun State and those arrested in Southern Kaduna crisis in Kaduna State and suspects arrested in connection with Zaki-biam killings in Benue State were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation before they were arraigned in court of competent jurisdiction.
“Therefore, transferring this hired assassin gang masquerading as cultists in kwara State to Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation is in accordance with Police investigation procedures.
“It is also important to underscore that the statement credited to the Senate President can dissuade and discourage living victims/deceased families of those who must have been killed by this vicious hired assassin gang from coming forward to give evidence against them.”