Saraki quizzed at National Assembly over Offa bank robbery saga
• Ekiti House alleges siege to premises by security agents
•’It was to ensure safety of lives, others’
A team of police investigators yesterday interrogated Senate President Bukola Saraki in his office at the National Assembly over the Offa robbery.
Saraki’s media office disclosed that the interrogation took place at about 1.40 p.m.
A statement by his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, said the meeting was at the instance of the Senate president.
“Further to the invitation to Saraki by the police on July 23, 2018, and his written response to them on July 24, 2018 on why he could not see them that day — today, at about 1:40 p.m., the Senate President met with a team of investigators on the Offa robbery case in his office.
“Saraki used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that he has nothing to do with either the robbery incident on April 5, 2018, or any other criminal activity,” the statement read.
In his response to the second invitation by the police to appear at their headquarters last Monday, Saraki had on Tuesday written to the Inspector General, Ibrahim Idris, requesting that he send a team of investigators to his office to carry out the investigation.
“I acknowledge your letter dated 23rd of July 2018. For the record, I should mention that I received your letter at 8:30 p.m. on Monday 23rd July, inviting me for the next day at 8 a.m. The two lawyers whose advice I needed were in Calabar and Lagos and had to travel to Abuja today. As you are aware, the deputy president of the Senate was unable to leave his residence this morning to preside over the Senate having being prevented from doing so by security agents. If he had been able to preside over the Senate, I would have honoured your invitation,” the letter read further.
Saraki said the absence of both presiding officers would have voided the sitting of the Senate, a situation that would have been damaging to national interest, particularly in the light of very important legislative matters that needed to be addressed in view of the imminent recess of the National Assembly.
He reminded the police that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier directed, as a courtesy to his office, that in the event of any request for further information from him, the security agents should either send their personnel to his office or obtain a written response from him.
“I need to place on record as well, that following the incident of being harassed and threatened at my residence by the police, I am deeply concerned over my physical security. I request you, therefore, to assign your personnel who need information on this matter, to meet me in my office, immediately after plenary today or tomorrow or any other day at your convenience,” Saraki wrote in the letter.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State House of Assembly has alleged a siege to its premises by armed policemen on the order of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bello Ahmed.
According to the Speaker, Mr. Kola Oluwawole, the police chief claimed that he received a letter from the Clerk of the House, Mr. Tola Esan, purportedly seeking security deployment to the premises of the House.
He said the clerk had, however, written to the commissioner of police, dissociating himself from any letter which he described as forged.
Oluwawole led 17 other lawmakers to address reporters and the anti-riot policemen who were deployed around 9.00 p.m. on Wednesday. But before press time, the armed policemen had vacated the premises of the Assembly.
The speaker fingered three members, Gboyega Aribisogan, Sunday Akinniyi and Ebenezer Alagbada, who defected to All Progressives Congress (APC) prior to the July 14 governorship election, as the masterminds of the siege.
The defected lawmakers were said to have boasted publicly that nobody could stop them from performing their legislative function, threatening to reopen the shut House for legislative activities.
The Guardian learnt that their threat made the leadership of the Assembly to hurriedly order the lawmakers to proceed on recess two days after the governorship election.
The lawmakers are to resume from recess on October 16.
Oluwawole said signature of the clerk was forged in the letter to the police calling for deployment of security agents. He ordered the closure of the House until the security of lawmakers and staff can be guaranteed.
According to the speaker, the Assembly, in a letter dated July 26 and addressed to the CP, had lodged a complaint of forgery against Aribisogan, and his request for illegal deployment of policemen in the assembly, calling for probe of the matter.
The police command, which confirmed that it deployed its armed personnel to the Assembly to ensure safety of lives and security of the place, said there was nothing wrong with the action.
“Anytime you see the deployment of policemen, it is to ensure safety of that place and the people there.”
The Public Relations Officer, Mr. Caleb Ikechukwu, said there was no need for people to be curious about the deployment of security agents, except those who have some form of crime to hide.
On the alleged letter seeking for deployment of policemen to the House, Ikechukwu queried: “Are you now meddling into our internal affairs? Anybody that discloses that information is disclosing a secret information and that person should be arrested and prosecuted.”