By Emmanuel Elebeke
An advocacy group, Citizen Communication and Advocacy Centre, CCAC has urged the Nigerian Police to be thorough and professional in handling the Offa Robbery incident, warning that politicization of the case will endanger the nation’s democracy.
The group sounded the warning at a press conference on Monday entitled ‘Save Our Democracy’, in Abuja.
Addressing the media, the Executive director of the group, Lord Charles Ibiang said the group was concerned about the politicization of the issues in the Offa bank robbery because the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki is being accused of sponsoring armed robbery, despite the fact that, ‘’he is the head of all important legislature, the third ranking political office holder in Nigeria and former two-time governor of Kwara State.’’
By the action of the police, he said the CCAC was worried that the dastardly act maybe compromised; in the name of fighting perceive political enemies and extending vendetta by the IG of Police to those who are seen to be in opposition against current status quo going forward toward 2019 elections.
Rather than politicizing the Offa robbery, he charged the Police to be more professional in discharging its duties and to make sure that all the culprits in the matter are brought to book, bearing in mind that the international community are watching Nigeria and how its number three citizen is being labelled as a criminal.
He also urged the police to focus more attention on the unjustifiable attacks and killing and massacres in various parts of the country, putting our collective safety as a people in great jeopardy.
‘‘Recently, as you are aware, the peaceful town of Offa in Kwara State was greeted by group of dare-devil robbers for a bank robbery and carnage, leaving behind its trail unfortunate deaths of Offa citizens and officers of the Nigerian Police with attendant destruction of properties.
‘‘The centre condemns in the strongest terms this unfortunate incident by these sons of the devil, describing it as ungodly satanic and sheer wickedness. We extend our heartfelt condolences and commiserate with the families who lost their loved ones, the people of Offa and Kwara State.
‘‘We call on the security and judiciary to make sure the culprits are severely punished or prosecuted according to the law of the land. We acknowledge the Police for the speedy arrest of the culprits, and wish this rapid response action should be extended to other cases pervasive in the country.
‘‘However, we are very concerned about the politicization of the issues in the Offa bank robbery whereby a legislator is accused, the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki is been accused of sponsoring armed robbery despite the fact that he is the head of all important legislature, the third ranking political office holder in Nigeria and former two-time governor of Kwara State.
‘‘By this action by the police, we are worried that the dastardly act maybe compromised; in the name of fighting perceive political enemies and extending vendetta by the IG of Police to those who are seen to be in opposition against current status quo going forward toward 2019 elections.’’
Continuing, the group, said, ‘‘In the same vein, we are concerned that the integrity of Nigerian Senate President and entire institution of the National Assembly would be tarnish and reduced to rubbles on unsubstantiated allegation of sponsoring or aiding robbers and murderers. The centre considered this very mundane, petty and the lowest we could degenerate as people capable of portraying us badly before the international community.
‘‘We condemns this recent pastime of the Police in fighting serious crime in our country, where security operatives will attempt to frame up highly place public officers using hardened criminals just to get at them for holding contrary view on National Issues without serious consequences or sanction by the appropriate or regulating institutions.’’
The center, however, warned that linking the Senate President to the Offa Bank robbery by the Police portends a great danger to our democracy and serious threat to foreign investors confidence in doing business in Nigeria and with Nigerians.
According to Ibiang, no foreign investor will want his money to be kept in a country where some of her highest ranking public servants aid bank robbery.
‘‘This is too much to bear for our Country considering also our battered image abroad. The Centre believes that only citizens can salvage us from this dangerous war of attrition among the ruling class.
‘‘We call and urge the Nigerian people to ask pertinent questions about the Offa robbery:
‘‘Are political thugs not a culture of the present ruling class? Who among them is exempted? Let us use this case to resolve this issue.
Citizens must insist that fairness; justice must be seen to be done not vendetta or vengeance.
‘‘Nigerian should be weary of some unscrupulous, unregistered civil society group posing as promoters of democracy, been sponsored and used as agent of destruction to orchestrate falsehood, lies, and propaganda against the Senate President. They should not listen to them nor their falsehood.
‘‘Going forward, the centre recommends and advice the Inspector General of Police to be professional, unbiased, and apolitical in handling the issues in Offa bank robbery.
‘‘We call on the President, President Buhari not to remain aloof or being seen protecting anybody but wades into the issue because it is capable of derailing our democracy.’’