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How SARS officers tortured us to implicate Saraki in Offa robbery – Petitioners

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Offa

Two petitioners at the Kwara state Judicial Panel of Enquiry investigating police brutality have accused operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) of torturing them to implicate former Senate President Bukola Saraki in the April 5, 2018, Offa robbery incident.

Suspects; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salahudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran, being held in the prison custody, were involved in the Offa bloody incident that led to the death of more than 20 persons, including police officers and civilians, are currently being prosecuted by the police at a High Court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

During the investigation in 2018, the police summoned Saraki, who was a senate president then, after he was linked to some of the robbery suspects. Saraki had on several occasions denied any involvement.

However, appearing before the retired Justice Tunde Garba-led panel on Wednesday, the petitioners, Kehinde Gobir and Shuaib Jawando, alleged that SARS personnel forced them to lie against Saraki by saying he bought guns for them.

Jawondo, who spent over 70 days in police detention, at the commencement of the panel sitting alleged that his life and that of his counsel were threatened when he first complained about the injustice.

“They said if I talk, they will kill. That was why I was quiet. I’m an old man, I am ready to die. Why I am doing this is because my lawyer who is helping me to write cannot come here and say anything because some SARS officers have been threatening him,” he said.

At the Wednesday sitting, Jawondo said that the police accused him of collecting guns from Saraki, to allegedly participate in the robbery operation.

In their separate testimonies, Messrs Gobir and Jawondo said that SARS granted them ‘administrative bail’ with a stern warning to desist from associating with Saraki, The Tribune newspaper reported.

The petitioners denied being used by Saraki for criminal activities, adding that they were tortured and subjected to inhuman conditions in both Ilorin and Abuja police detentions.

The petitioners also accused officers of the disbanded SARS of confiscating their property, which include two Toyota Corolla, handsets and N250,000 collected before they were granted bail.

According to PremiumTimes, they also urged the panel to help them redeem their image in the eyes of the public saying they has been exposed to unwarranted stigmatization and disgrace which they said had affected their livelihood and economic fortune.

“We did not participate in any crime nor involve in any Offa robbery killing or having any criminal records whatsoever as being wrongfully alleged by the SARS officers. We urge the panel to do the needful by facilitating the quick recovery of our property.”

Reacting to their claims, the police counsel, Adekunle Iwalaye, urged the panel to dismiss the petitions in their entirety on the grounds that they lack merit.

The chairman of the panel later adjourned the matter to January 13, 2021.

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