One of the three officers, Musa Musa, who was dismissed from the force for burgling the house of the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has been arraigned by the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja.
The dismissed officer who was a sergeant was among the three who burgled Jonathan’s house at No. 89 Fourth Avenue, Gwarimpa district, Abuja and stole items such as, sets of furniture, plasma television sets, refrigerators, air-conditioner units and box-loads of clothes such as designer suits imprinted with the former president’s name, male and female Ijaw traditional attires, lace materials and bowler hats.
They were arraigned at a magistrate court in Wuse, Abuja.
The magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello, after hearing arguments by respective counsels, granted Musa bail with a bond of N7 million.
“The law is clear about right to liberty. Bail is granted to allow the accused attend trial. Where it is perceived that the accused may jump bail, he may be denied,” the magistrate said.
The three mobile police officers allegedly had conducted the systematic looting over a period of three months beginning from around March 2016, until they totally stripped the house of all movable items, which they sold piecemeal to dealers at Panteka second-hand materials market at Tipper Garage, Gwarimpa.
According to a security source involved in the investigation, by the time family members of the former President were alerted to the looting early this month, the house had been stripped bare.
On getting wind of the arrest of the policemen, two dealers who had been main recipients of the stolen items were said to have closed down their shops at Panteka market and have since remained at large. Whistle-blowing neighbour The source revealed that the looting was discovered when a neighbour noticed “severe damage in the house” and called a member of President Jonathan’s family to ask whether the house was undergoing renovation.
The former President was said to have personally gone to inspect the property after which he reported the vandalism to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. “After a team of officers dispatched to the scene confirmed the crime, Mr. Idris was said to have ordered the arrest of the three police officers who were still on guard duty at the residence.
They were arrested about two weeks ago,” the source stated. A trader at Panteka market, who confessed to being close to one of the fleeing buyers of the stolen items, according to sources, said the police officers first brought some items to the market for sale in early 2016.
Sgt Musa at Panteka Market “It all started sometimes around March 2016 when a mobile police sergeant came to Tipper Garage market and brought some items for sale. He approached one of the wholesalers to buy them, but the trader said he does not buy items from an unconfirmed owner.
“The officer who identified himself as Sergeant Musa told the trader that he was one of the security men guarding Mr. Jonathan’s private residence at Gwarimpa. He took the trader to follow him to confirm that he was not a thief who had come to sell off stolen properties in the market.
‘’The trader followed him to the residence where he met two other policemen, an Inspector and a Sergeant. They convinced him that the items were part of gifts to them,’’ the source said. Sources said it was noticed subsequently that the stream of transaction had no end, as Sergeant Musa continued to invite the trader to the residence to pick up fresh items.
The source said: “At a point, the trader became scared when he suspected foul play and told Sergeant Musa that he was no longer interested in the transaction. However, the officer later got another customer, a wholesaler in the market, who would eventually buy almost 80 per cent of all the properties removed from President Jonathan’s residence.
Jonathan had lived in the house for about a year when he was vice president. His mother was also said to have lived in the house after the former President moved to Aso Rock Villa upon becoming Acting President in 2010.