Saraki, IGP fight dirty over arrested killer-cult suspects

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday accused Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris of plotting to frame him up “to settle scores.”

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The police rejected the claim, vowing that it would not allow anybody to obstruct the course of justice.

According to Saraki, the transfer of some cultism suspects, who were arrested in Kwara State and were under investigation by the police in Ilorin, to the Force Headquarters in Abuja, was meant to coerce them into implicating him.

In a statement he read to the Senate at plenary, Saraki said: “Last night, my State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, revealed to me an information at his disposal that a group of suspects who had been in police cells for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded with prosecution about to commence under the State law based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Ministry of Justice were ordered to be transferred to Abuja this morning.

“According to the information available to the Governor, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim directed the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to immediately transfer the men to the Force Headquarters. The plan, as the Governor was made to understand is that, under duress, the suspects would be made to alter the statements they already made in Ilorin. They will then be made to implicate the Kwara State Government, and in particular, myself, in their new statement.

“This plot is part of the strategy by the IGP Idris to settle scores over the declaration by this honourable Chamber that he is not qualified and competent to hold any public office, within and outside the country and that he is an enemy of Nigerian democracy based on his usual disrespectful conduct towards lawful authorities.

“In my own view, this plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at turnlng our country into a Police State where top officials cannot be made to obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authorities.

“I want to bring this dangerous development to the attention of all of you my colleagues, the entire country and the international community so that you can be aware of the level of impunity in our country and the danger it constitutes to our democracy.”

The Kwara State Government said it was concerned about the transfer of four suspected cult members from the state police command to Abuja.

Director of Public Persecution (DPP) Jimoh Adebimpe Mumini said the offences “are state-based and triable under the state laws”.

The DPP, who wondered why four out of the 17 accused persons were transferred to Abuja, said the state had successfully prosecuted some notorious cases of cultism in the past.

“We had cases of notorious and dangerous killers in the state, which have been handled in the state. Our hope is that the Nigeria Police Force will return the four accused persons to the state for trial.”

Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor Chief Leke Ogungbe, said the state security council hoped that the transfer of the suspects “is not politically- motivated”.

But the Police dismissed the Senate President’s and Kwara State government’s claim as “untrue, misleading and an obstruction”.

The statement urged the Senate President “not to interfere with police investigation,” warning that “until investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.”

The police said they were “shocked at the unbelievable claims, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations being peddled against the IGP by the Senate President, accusing the Inspector General”.

In “setting the records straight”, the police said the Kwara State Police Command on May 11 paraded six suspects in Ilorin. They named the suspects as

Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin.

Lanre Mohammed Soliu (a.k.a Askari) of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin.

iii. Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin.

Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin.

Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin and

Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin.

“The suspects admitted and confessed before the press and the public to have killed 11 innocent persons in Kwara State and other states.

“The victims, according to the suspects, were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors.”

The statement listed those killed “in cold blood” as: (i) Bukola Ajikobi, killed on 18/01/2016 at Ajikobi Area in Ilorin (ii) Azeez Lawal, killed in February, 2018 at Oja Oba area of Ilorin (iii) Lateef (Surname unknown), killed February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin (iv) Jamiu (Surname unknown), killed in February 2018 at Idi Ape area, Ilorin (v) One Segun (Surname unknown), killed in September, 2017 at Kankatu area of Ilorin (vi) Wasiu (Surname unknown), killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao Garage of Ilorin (vii) Musiliu (surname unknown), killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area, Ilorin (viii) Bayo Ajia, killed on January 18, 2018 at Taiwo Road, Ilorin (ix) Another Lateef, killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin (x) Abbey, a student of Kwara Polytechnic, killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin (xi) Lanre (surname unknown), killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.

“Consequent upon the public confessions, the statutory procedure and practice in the Force is that such a heinous crime and capital offence is transferred to the Force Headquarters for further investigation. This is to enable a thorough and discreet investigation into the crime.”

The statement added that the IG’s interest is to ensure “that justice prevails in the matter. Nobody, no matter how highly-placed, would be allowed to interfere or obstruct Police investigation to pervert the course of justice.”

The statement added that the police had in the past transferred arrested suspects in high profile cases like those of the mayhem in Ile-Ife, Osun State, the Zaki Biam, Benue State killings to the Force Headquarters. It wondered why this Kwara case is different.

The police said the statement by the Senate President could “dissuade and discourage living victims/deceased families of those who must have been killed by this vicious hired assassin gang from coming forward to give evidence against them”.

The statement told the public “to disregard and discountenance the claim of plot by the IGP against the Senate President as a ruse, unfortunate and an attempt to divert Police investigation into the killings,” adding that they would not “leave any stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored”.

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