Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has written to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in response to his invitation to appear for an interrogation over the allegations made against him by armed robbery suspects who attacked banks in Offa, Kwara State.
This is as the police Wednesday described Saraki’s refusal to honour their invitation as “disrespectful”.
The police had in June invited Saraki for questioning over the bank robberies in Offa on April 5, but the Senate President responded to the invitation in writing.
The IG, in a letter dated July 23 and addressed to the Senate President, again asked Saraki to report to the police on Tuesday at 8 am to provide further clarification on his relationship with the five leaders of the robbery gang.
Idris, in his latest letter, insisted that the gang leaders claimed they were political thugs to Saraki, adding that “the Senate President supplies arms and money to the thugs; that everyone in Kwara Central fears them because of their guns and ability to kill anybody without hesitation.”
The Senate President, however, did not honour the invitation. He had escaped the siege laid to his Maitama, Abuja residence by the operatives of the Department of State Services and men of the Nigeria Police.
Asked on Wednesday if Saraki would answer the summons by the police, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said his boss had responded to the police in writing.
Olaniyonu also said Saraki had answered all the questions raised by the police in his letter to the IG.
He added that Saraki’s letter was written and dispatched to the police on Tuesday, stressing that its receipt was duly acknowledged.
Olaniyonu further stated that after answering all the questions raised by the police in his letter, he did not believe that there was any further need for Saraki to go to the police personally.
“He has written a letter to them and the letter has taken care of the purpose of the invitation. He sent the letter to them yesterday (Tuesday). The letter addressed the issues raised in the invitation letter,” Olaniyonu said.
However, police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said Wednesday, that the refusal of Saraki to honour the invitation by the police was in bad faith.
He said; “On the 23rd of July, an invitation was sent to him. We were expecting him by 8am on Tuesday for further investigation into the Offa bank robbery where 33 people were killed.
“The position of the law is that anybody that was alleged to have committee an offence must make himself present.
“He has sent a written statement to the investigation team and it was not satisfactory. There are lots of grey areas that need to be cleared, and that is why he was invited.
“The investigators have been directed to take all actions within the ambit of the law to ensure that there is compliance with the law because the bottom line is that we have a case that can stand the test of trial against the Senate President and we don’t want people to politicize criminality. He was indicted based on the confession of five principal suspects in Offa robbery.
On how the Police perceived Saraki’s refusal to honour its invitation, he said: “We are treating it as a disrespect to the law and we are going to take appropriate action to ensure that he complies with the rule of law because nobody is above the law.”
On the alleged blockade of his residence, he said: “If we were expecting him, why would we go and block him? We had no hand in the blockade and two press statement were sent from my office on Tuesday on the directive of the IGP for the public to know what actually transpired.
“We have over 170 Police Mobile Force personnel attached to the National Assembly and about 40 are attached directly to the Senate President.
“Outside that, we have the Special Protection Unit that is equally attached to him. We have the ADC, the CSO. We have a lot of other police personnel including those who are riders and drivers. So what happened yesterday (Tuesday) was not a blockade by our personnel, we didn’t block the residence.
“Those seen in the picture and video were personnel that were attached to him because we don’t even use Mercedes Benz for patrol.
“We don’t have any Mercedes Benz in our fleet for patrol and in that picture; there was a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Those are the personnel attached to the convoy of the Senate President and those attached to his residence for his protection.
“We have the obligation to also protect his family. The wife has policemen attached to her, also his guest house and other houses are equally protected.
“So those seen were those attached to the Senate President but the IG, concerned with public interest and the need to let Nigerians know what transpired has directed an investigation into the matter.
“The ADC was invited because he is supposed to know the whereabouts of his principal but if the ADC is in isolation, we would want to know who called for whatsoever additional Police Personnel seen there because there was no authorised deployment from FHQ or any other formation to block his residence.
“You don’t go and block an empty house. What do we stand to gain by doing that? We have other means for which if we want the Senate President to comply with the dictates of the law, he would and he was invited and we were waiting for him.”
He denied that the police were being used for political purposes.