These may not be the best of times for Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President of Nigeria. In fact, it seems he may have to find a way to appease the gods in order to enjoy the remaining days of his office as a senator. The current political dispensation of the former governor turned senator has been fraught with one controversy or the other.

Still embroiled in the 18 count charges of false asset declaration with the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which has recently been reduced to only 3 charges. Just as he was about to heave a sigh relief, anther bigger scandal, the Offa bank robbery has somehow been linked to Senator Saraki, and it seems the police are hell bent on roping him into the robbery. Let’s go back a bit to the robbery and the pieces of evidence the police said they have against Saraki.

ACP Jimoh Moshood

ACP Jimoh Moshood

The police said on Wednesday 6th June that they have more evidence that links five of the Offa robbery suspects with Senate President Bukola Saraki. According to the police, one of the new evidence included a picture of one of the suspects (in fact the gang leader) at a recent wedding ceremony of Sen Saraki’s daughter in Kwara State. The source disclosed that the police during interrogation of the suspects also discovered that the gang leader was putting on the same ankara clothing which was worn by specially invited guests at the wedding on that day. And this makes Saraki culpable in an armed robbery attack that led to the death of 33 persons. However, checks by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the picture has been in circulation on social media for some days now and was not recent evidence as claimed by the police.

The Police also said that 48 hours after the Offa bank robbery, four of the gang leaders accompanied the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to the palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi Esuwoye, to sympathize with him. They also said it was necessary for the Senate President to explain why he purchased prohibited arms for the suspects, insisting he had a case to answer. A source at the SARS office in Abuja, told Vanguard, that contrary to widely publicized report, which indicated that Saraki was invited because of his role in the robbery attack, the Senate President was only invited to explain why he allegedly purchased illegal and prohibited weapons used to kill innocent and law-abiding people. According to the source, “it is an offence to purchase prohibited weapons for criminals in whatever guise, be it thuggery or whatever you call it”.

ayoade akinnibosun

Ayoade Akinnibosun

“Leader of Offa Bank robbery, Ayoade Akinnibosun (a.k.a AY), and the remaining four gang members namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran who were members of the Youth Liberation Movement aka “Good Boys” have direct connection to the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and they further admitted that they attended the Senate President daughter’s wedding held recently,” police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said in a statement. So based on all these evidences the police believe Sen Saraki has a case to answer.

In a full police statement which was published by ACP Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer Abuja during a press briefing, he released a 10 count charge which included confessional statements by the indicted thugs citing Sen Saraki as their sponsor and by implication that he was in the know of all their activities along with the governor of Kwara State Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed (see attached video)

ibikunle ogunleye

Ibikunle Ogunleye

Senator Saraki had been asked to submit a written statement to the police about what he knew of the April 5 armed robbery attack in Offa, Kwara State. The police initially summoned him for questioning after naming him as a suspect in the robbery. The police gave Saraki 48 hours to complete a written statement, a demand the Senate President said he would meet.

However through all these accusation and press releases by the police, Sen Saraki put up a twitter statement yesterday June 7th and we quote, “In line with their request, earlier today, the Police received my response to their letter on the investigation into the Offa robbery case”. And according to sources, both Senator Saraki and Kwara State Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed have denied any involvement with the suspects and the Offa robbery.

This was also Sen Saraki’s reaction during the CCT crisis, he said he was ready to put up his defense against the three counts that were before the Tribunal, despite a contrary advice from his lawyers. Citing on his Facebook page and Twitter handle that he prefers to be a law-abiding citizen.

It is interesting to note that Saraki was suddenly linked with the Offa robbery, a day after the National Assembly passed 10 resolutions on the Buhari administration’s conduct. One of the resolutions was for an immediate end to continued hostilities between federal authorities and lawmakers. So we ask why now or is there more to these accusations?

While activists like human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), may be right in warning that the current robbery brouhaha not be politicized, as he insists that this is an opportunity to rid the country of political thugs. Well, he may be right, but the question is, how many political thugs would you rid?

We only now happen to know about Senator Saraki’s case because the thugs were involved in a robbery that killed at least 33 lives. However, the truth of the matter is that political thuggery is not new to Nigeria. In fact it is a norm, as almost every politician has at one time or even still has a group of jobless young men in their kitty who carry out nefarious activities for them.

The interesting thing is that these political thugs and their sponsors are known by the police, and DSS, but how come it’s only those who are seen to be opposing the government, challenging its policies or exposing its ills that are suddenly exposed in the full glare for public ridicule, while those who have decided to play dumb are protected by all means possible. Big question huh?

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