© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
From Melaye to Saraki: An emerging pattern of absurdity in the Nigerian police order
THE police on Sunday invited Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate and the number three citizens of the country, for interrogation over a connection with bank robbery in his state, Kwara.
The police, however, rescinded the invitation on Monday and asked Saraki to respond in writing.
Jimoh Moshood, Police Public Relations Officer, at a press briefing on Sunday, said five of the bank robbery suspects had indicted Saraki and he was therefore expected to report at Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja for interrogation.
According to Moshood, the suspects who killed about 35 persons, including police officers and pregnant women during bank robbery in Offa, Kwara in April, “admitted, confessed and volunteered statements that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed.”
The ICIR made several phone calls to Moshood to find out why the police decided not to interrogate Saraki again after announcing so publicly. He neither answered the call nor responded to a text message.
The reason why the police invited Saraki publicly over a robbery case that has not been thoroughly investigated is still unclear. What is clear however is that there is a developing pattern in the operation of the Nigerian police that exposes the institution to disdain.
FROM ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT TO KIDNAPPERS’ SPONSOR
In April 2017, police paraded suspects who had attempted to assassinate Dino Melaye, a senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District.
Moshood said the suspects, including a local government council sole administrator had “confessed to the crime”.
“In compliance with the Inspector General of Police’s directive on the attack and attempted assassination/murder of Senator Dino Melaye, carried out on 15 April, 2015 at Iyala, Ijumo Local Government Area of Kogi State, the operatives of the IGP special tactical squad swung into action, and after a 10 days of painstaking and sustained surveillance, that is between 16 April, 2017 and 25th April, 2017, successfully arrested six members of the vicious and notorious hired assassin gang responsible for the attack,” Moshood said when suspects where paraded last year.
Almost one year later in February, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation filed a law suit against Melaye for falsely claiming he survived an assassination attempt. What then happened to the suspects that the police had paraded?
Melaye was later declared wanted by the police after some suspected criminals confessed that he supplied them the arms which they used to carry out kidnapping and robbery operations.
Police subsequently arrested Melaye and bundled him to Lokoja where he was arraigned in court but eventually granted bail.
SHEHU SANI IN MURDER CASE
In April, the Police in Kaduna State invited Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central, to appear before the command headquarters to answer questions in a murder case.
Sani’s invitation was based on an alleged case of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide in which the principal suspect had mentioned the name of the senator.
Sani alleged that some people were aiming to silence him or tarnish his reputation. He said he was granted bail and allowed to go based on self-recognition after the interogation.
The allegation of murder and robbery against the three senators is open to question.
By turning around to ask Saraki to send a written response shows that the police did not carry out investigation before announcing to the world that the Senate President was connected to the bank robbery.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, was recently captured in an embarrassing video where he was struggling to pronounce certain words. Idris has not explained to Nigerians what happened to him in that video, just as he has failed to explain why Saraki who was publicly invited for interrogation on a criminal charge was disinvited barely 24-hour later.