A witness, Shamsudeen Bada, has told a High Court in Kwara State how he was allegedly tortured to implicate former Senate President Bukola Saraki in the Offa bank robbery incident of April 5, 2018.
Bada, who is a former vice chairman of Irepodun Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, spoke on Thursday, December 8, at the ongoing trial over the robbery which led to the death of at least 17 persons, including nine police officers.
Recall that five suspects — Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham and two others — were charged to court by the police for criminal conspiracy to rob the banks, murder of nine policemen and other citizens, and illegal possession of firearms, following the robbery incident.
Bada recounted his experience when the trial of the suspects in the robbery resumed at the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin.
He said his torture was overseen by men of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) led by DCP Abba Kyari, who along with four others is now standing trial for alleged drug trafficking offences preferred against them by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The witness said the IRT operatives told him their instructions were “directly from the IGP” when his family threatened the police with a court case.
He said the IRT operatives promised him while in detention that he would be freed if he named Saraki as the sponsor of the robbery, adding that one of the robbery suspects, Ayo Akinninbosun, was shot in the leg when he declined to indict Saraki.
“After he was shot, my health started deteriorating. DCP Abba Kyari brought some nurses to treat me. Before I was eventually released, the police officers gave me conditions that I must not grant any press interview, I must not go to court and I should quit politics,” he said.
The witness told the court that his arrest was politically motivated as a means to deal with the Saraki camp. “They needed to tag it with something to nail them, hence Offa robbery became their option which was a month after the robbery saga,” he said.
The prosecuting counsel later sought an adjournment to obtain a document that he said was not brought to the Court and the case was subsequently adjourned to January 16, 17 and 18, 2023, for continuation of cross-examination by the prosecution and trial.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.