The Nigerian police has reacted following Senate President Bukola Saraki’s refusal to honour its invitation.
Senate President Bukola Saraki
The Police yesterday described Senate President Bukola Saraki’s refusal to honour their invitation as “disrespectful”, The Nation has reported.
Recall that the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris had on Monday written a letter of invitation to Saraki requesting him to appear on Tuesday morning to clear himself of allegations of involvement with five principal suspects in the Offa bank robbery investigation.
The Senate President had earlier submitted a written defence to the police. Monday’s invitation was extended to him to clarify some issues.
Saraki was expected to report to the head of Intelligence Response Team at Guzape in Abuja but he didn’t show up.
Instead of honoring the invitation, the Senate President said his house was besieged by policemen but the police authority said it did not have a hand in it.
The Police also said it was investigating the matter adding that a statement had been collected from the Aide-de-camp (ADC) to the Senate President to ascertain what transpired.
The Police also said the blockade was a calculated attempt for it to be embarrassed adding that it was done to whip up sentiment.
The Police also said its investigation had nothing to do with defection of lawmakers at the National Assembly.
Also yesterday, Saraki said he would not honour the police invitation because he had answered all the questions in his written response.
The Senate President said his letter to the Police on the invitation written on Tuesday was duly acknowledged.
In an explanation through his Media adviser Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said all the issues and questions raised in the police invitation letter were answered,
Saraki said the letter was written and dispatched to the police on Tuesday.
He noted that after answering all the questions raised by the police in his letter, he did not believe that there was any further need for him to go to the police personally.
The Senate President added that he believed that his letter to the police was enough hence there was no need for him to go personally to the police for the same issue.
Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood speaking on a television programme yesterday 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 added: “Whoever is the officer that used that discretion to order a blockade is attached to the Senate President and that is what we want everybody to know.
“It was circulated for the media to embarrass us. Apart from the pictures and videos, radio stations were also running commentary that they didn’t know the whereabouts of the Senate President as at then.
“They were also saying the house of the Deputy Senate President was blocked. They are the heads of the legislative arm of government and we have an obligation to protect them. A thorough investigation has been ordered to know who gave that directive but we strongly believe that they are among the convoy of the Senate President.
“If the whereabouts of the Senate President is not known, then the ADC has a right to exercise a discretion and if the discretion was exercised wrongly, then the Force has responsibility to discipline him and that is why he has made statement and he is being investigated.
“It is important for Nigerians to know that we don’t have hand in it. If we blocked him, he wouldn’t have appeared in the Senate but he presided over activities in the Senate.”
He denied that the police were being used for political purposes.