July 26, 2018

Offa bank robbery: You lack evidence against Saraki, Malami tells Police

Malami, open grazing

Abubakar Malami (SAN) . Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan

By Anthony Ogbonna

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, has written to the Nigerian Police, saying it could not see any nexus linking the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Kwara state Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed to the bank robbery that took place in Offa, Kwara state on the 5th of April which led to the death of 33 persons including 12 policemen and a pregnant woman.

Abubakar Malami (SAN) .

In a letter to the Inspector-General of Police and dated June 22, the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mohammed Umar said Malami’s office could not establish a nexus between Saraki, Governor Ahmed, and the suspected robbers.

Saraki and Idris

“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 in our advice that further and thorough investigation in this regard be carried out.”

Recall that the Police had, severally, invited Dr. Saraki to its office to clear himself of the allegation leveled against him in confessional statements of some suspects arrested over the robbery.

The police had claimed that based on the confessional statements of the suspects, that there is a “direct link” between the robbers and the Senate President.

Some of the robbers had claimed in their statements that both Dr. Saraki and Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed provided them with what they used in carrying out the crime.

However, both the Senate President and the Kwara state Governor have denied any link to the robbery nor have they any connection with the suspected robbers.

Meanwhile, drama played out in the early hours of Tuesday as some policemen barricaded the Senate President from leaving his house.

Although the Police headquarters denied issuing the order for the blockage of the Senate President, the move was alleged to have been aimed at preventing Saraki from presiding over the Senate’s proceeding of Tuesday to abort the planned defection of some All Progressives Congress, APC, senators to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Saraki had himself, in a statement, had accused the police of trying to link him to the robbery at all means.

According to him, “This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail.”

However, the police has insisted that there is a direct link between the Senate President and the robbery, hence, it has maintained that the Senate President must report to its headquarters to answer to the allegations.

The police maintain there is a link between Saraki and the robbery.

But in the letter by the DPP, Malami’s office urged the police to stop dragging Saraki into the robbery case, maintaining that based on the preliminary evidence provided by the police, it could not see any link between Saraki and the suspects or the crime.

It however gave what it said is the appropriate way of conducting an investigation to reach a logical conclusion as to whether an accused has a connection to the crime alleged.

It gave the procedure to include,

“i. Establish whether the planning and the execution of the robbery attack of the 5th April 2018 at Offa was carried out at their instance, knowledge or approval.

“ii. Whether the weapons used for the robbery attack aforementioned were supplied by either the senate president, Bukola Saraki or the governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatai Ahmed.

“iii. And any other area or areas that may assist in establishing a prima facie case of aiding and abetting crime, or accessory after the fact.”