Plateau State was on Sunday thrown into mourning with the killing of 86 persons in the attacks on about 11 communities in the Gashish District by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Police Command in Plateau State had earlier on Sunday confirmed the attacks, saying it had only recovered 11 corpses from some of the villages. But residents had insisted that about 200 people were killed by the marauding herdsmen.

However, the police later issued a statement that indicated that the death toll in the attack on the communities in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area on Saturday night had risen to 86. It added that six people were injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles razed while two motor vehicles were torched.

The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in an updated statement issued on Sunday night, said the earlier 11 death toll in the attacks was due to the information at its disposal as of then before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA.

Tyopev had identified the 11 corpses as Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala,Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.

He said, “Sequel to the attack in the Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) June 23, 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Jos, Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel in the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today (Sunday) for an on-the-spot assessment.

“The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations had also the DPO of the Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38. After a careful search of the villages attacked in the District, the following were discovered: 86 persons altogether were killed, six people injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles and two motor vehicles also burnt.

“The team also carried out a detailed deployment. Corpses were released to the families for burial. The command earlier in the day confirmed only 11 people dead as the result of the attacks due to the information at its disposal before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA. This is to update members of the public of the situation as regards the attacks in the Gashish District as promised earlier on.”

Also, there were fears that some soldiers were missing during the attack but the Commander of the Special Military Task Force codenamed Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe, dismissed the report. He said, “it’s not true, no soldier died and no soldier is missing.”

While the Peoples Democratic Party and the Christian Association of Nigeria, called on the global community to rescue Plateau State from the attacks, the Plateau State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South LGAs.

The decision, according to the government, is to avert the breakdown of law and order.

A statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, said movement would be restricted from 6 pm to 6 am, except those on essential duties.

“The soil of Plateau smells with rotten dead bodies as a result of silent killings and many people are missing,” CAN stated.

The attack was said to have been launched at Xland. Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish District were completely sacked by the assailants.

Other areas affected by the attacks included Rakok, Kok and Razat in the Ropp District.

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petition Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly representing the Barkin Ladi constituency, Peter Gyendeng , in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday said the attacks were a declaration of war on his constituency.

He claimed that mercenaries were hired to kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA.

Gyendeng said, “As a matter of fact, the casualty rate is in hundreds; it is more than 100. In one place, it is above 51, in another, over 32 and yet in another area, it is same. For now, based on what we have on the ground and the corpses that we have been receiving, it is probably over 200 casualties.

“Altogether, about 11 villages were attacked and our people are there now trying to ascertain the number of deaths. The casualty rate is above 200 and counting (of the corpses) is still going on.

“This is war; it is a declaration of war on my people. War has been declared on the Barkin Ladi LGA completely. There are mercenaries that have been hired to come and kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA. The killing started around 11pm last (Saturday) night till this (Sunday) morning. And the killing still continues.”

Reacting to the killings, the PDP described Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State as an “absentee governor, who had been out of the state for the past three weeks.

The party called on the international community to “come to the aid of Plateau people as apart from the over 130 people killed, many are missing.”

The PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary in Plateau State, John Akans, described the attacks as genocide.

He said, “We received with rude shock the level of genocide going on now in the Gashish District, Razat, Ruku Nyarr and Gana-Ropp, all in the Barkin Ladi LGA. We also note with great pains the dastardly attacks ongoing in many other LGAs in the state by the Fulani militias.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the level of continuous genocidal attacks on Plateau people. At the moment, Barkin Ladi is under siege by the marauders with over 130 people feared to have been killed. As of the time of issuing this statement, CAPRO School of Missions-SOM in Gana-Ropp is under heavy attack by the militia.

“…We call on the international community to come to the aid of Plateau people as beside the over 130 people killed, many are missing. While we mourn our people, we are calling on this failed, incompetent and ineffective APC government at all levels to, for once, be sensitive by discharging its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of its citizens.

“While killings are going on, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is busy telling members of the international community that Nigeria is safe for investment and tourism.

“While the Federal Government is planning to pump hundreds of billions of naira into the construction of cattle ranches in states, killings are ongoing in states that have not put in place any ban on open grazing.”

But the Plateau State Government commiserated with citizens especially, Xland, Gindin Akwati communities of the Barkin Ladi LGA, saying it held every single life as sacred.

The government requested citizens to use the “early warning system” mechanism recently launched by Operation Rainbow on 30812 for SMS and 09060100010 for voice calls.

A statement by the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, said the government was deeply pained that despite concerted efforts which had led to the restoration of relative peace in the state, “some unpatriotic elements are bent on disrupting the gains so far made.”

He said, “The government condemns these attacks and has mobilised the full compliments of security forces and they are restoring normalcy in the affected areas and the environs. Furthermore, the government holds every single life as sacred hence has mobilised medical and relief agencies to ameliorate the suffering of those in distress.

“As a government, we are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment that will guarantee peaceful coexistence among the various groups in the state as we remain resolute to the well being of our people.”

The Nigerian Air Force said it had deployed seven fighter jets and attack helicopters to Benue and Taraba states in an ongoing Operation Whirl Stroke, to tackle the herdsmen and farmers’ violence in the two states.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, confirmed the deployment in Makurdi, Benue State, during an induction of the seventh platform – an Mi-35P attack helicopter on Saturday.

According to Abubakar, the deployed aircraft are two F-7 fighter jets, two Mi-35 helicopters, one ATR plane, one 350 King air surveillance aircraft and one Mi-35P helicopter.

The air chief said the military operation, which also covered Nasarawa State, would seek an end to the violent clashes between the herders and the communities.

“The deployment is targeted at checkmating the farmers/herdsmen’s clashes and it shows the military’s commitment to the protection of the citizens and their property in all parts of the country.

“The induction of the Mi-35P aircraft in the operation is to increase security presence in the states,” Abubakar noted.

According to a statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Air Force, Samson Okwu, was also in Benue State with the air chief during which they were briefed by the operation’s Joint Task Force Commander, Maj Gen Adeyemi Yekini.

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said the Presidency should be ready for the defeat of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the July 14 governorship election in the state.

This was as the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State asked Fayemi to account for N16.7bn his administration under-declared as Internally-Generated Revenue from 2010 to 2014.

The party said this became necessary since Fayemi’s claim of N600m monthly IGR, which totalled N7.2bn yearly, contradicted the figures his administration gave to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.

Fayose said the defeat of the APC would be a shocker for the Presidency and a congratulatory message for the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee of the party.

He stated this in reaction to the notice to quit given to him and his party, the PDP, by the Presidency during the APC’s National Convention in Abuja.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, the governor said apart from losing Ekiti, the APC would also meet its waterloo in Osun State and would be finally dislodged from the Presidency in 2019.

Fayose was optimistic that the PDP and its candidate, Prof Kolapo Olusola, would win convincingly during the poll.

“He (Fayemi) has offended the teachers, who he demoted, harassed and planned to sack. They also know that if Fayemi comes back, he is going to sack them, so, how will teachers vote for him?”

“The local government workers that Fayemi harassed and said were not necessary are not his friends.

“Recently, he said no local government needs more than 200 workers, signifying that he plans to sack them if elected. They won’t vote for him.

“He said commercial motorcyclists are a nuisance and should be barred from operating in the state. They will not vote Fayemi or the APC. The list is endless and the people of the state who are reeling under the heavy debts he put the state into, have rejected him,” he said.

The state PDP Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, said available records indicated that Fayemi under-declared the IGR that accrued to the state under him.

He said since Fayemi claimed that he raised the IGR to N600m monthly which should be about N7.2bn in a year, it meant that his administration under-declared its IGR and should tell the Ekiti people where the remaining funds were.

Oguntuase explained that since the Fayose’s administration came on board, the IGR so far generated could be ascertained.

He said, “In 2015, we generated N3.3bn which amounted to an average of N283m monthly. In 2016, it was N2.9bn via an average of N241m monthly.

“In 2017, it increased to N3.8bn via an average of N306m monthly. We have nothing to hide; it is Fayemi that has to tell the people of the state what he did with their money.”

But reacting, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation accused Fayose and his men of concocting ridiculous and inconsistent figures to claim that Fayemi either put the state in debts or that he stole money.

“Fayose first said Fayemi left N96bn debt. Later, he reduced the figure to N92bn and again to N86bn. Later, he called it N76bn to the point that you could not even say this is what the figure was until the DMO declared that the debt was N18bn.

“One good thing is that Ekiti people have seen through Fayose’s wall of deception and there is no lie and blackmail that can change the minds of Ekiti people from kicking out Fayose and his clique from their lives so that they can start living like other decent Nigerians who are lucky not to be doomed to Fayose’s voodoo economic management where figures appear, disappear and re-appear to confound decent Ekiti people that are living under the yoke of ruthless businessmen that have hit jackpot in Ekiti State.”

Source – punch

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has challenged Governor Ayodele Fayose to a public debate on how the two of them ran Ekiti finances in office.

Fayemi said the 800-page handover note he personally gave to Fayose when he assumed office contained how the finances he received while in office were managed.

The immediate past Minister of Mines and Steel Development spoke at a press briefing on Sunday after the inauguration of the state campaign council.

“I challenge Fayose to meet me in a debate and let us discuss what we did with the resources that we held in trust for Ekiti, that way we will know who is a better manager of Ekiti resources or who is a prodigal son,” he said

Fayemi stated this while responding to an allegation by the Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party’s Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, that the former governor mismanaged N165bn allocation apart from other grants as governor between 2010 and 2014.

Oguntuase had in a statement in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday wondered why Fayemi still took N25bn bond and N35bn commercial loans with nothing to show for the funds.

“In 2011, Fayemi got N40.5bn as monthly statutory allocations. In 2012, he got N39.8bn. In 2013, he got N44.3bn and in 2014, he got N40.1bn. Whereas, the Fayose administration got N28.2bn in 2015, N18.8bn in 2016 and N25.6bn in 2017.

“Apart from the above monthly allocations, Fayemi still got regular funds from the Excess Crude Oil Account, and IGR among others. Despite what Fayemi got, he still borrowed N25bn from the capital market and took N31bn commercial loans. The question is: What did he do with the money? Nothing.

“The N25bn bond and commercial loans, through which he mortgaged the finances of our dear state for 20 years, were spent on nothing. He proposed an event centre, it was never completed. He said he would build a new Governor’s Office, he only scraped a parcel of land near the House of Assembly Complex and did nothing. His new Ojaba Market, for which he erected a billboard at the entrance of the palace of Ewi, never saw the light of the day,” Oguntuase said.

But responding, Fayemi said, “The handover note contained both financial and administrative details of what we did in four years.

“I urge the PDP and others who wish to find out to visit every single community in Ekiti State. They would find what I did with Ekiti money. There is no community in Ekiti today that you can visit, even the hamlets, that you would not find the footprints of Fayemi.

“In every community, you would find schools and hospitals and community roads and markets that we built; you would find civic centres that we built. They are in all villages and towns in Ekiti. No fewer than 100 people benefited from the social security scheme that we provided. There are communities that received on the average N10m for social security scheme on regular basis.

“You will find those that we employed into the youth volunteer, Peace Corps, the teaching profession and many others.”

Nigeria and Morocco on Monday signed agreements on regional gas pipeline, development of chemical plant and vocational training and technical supervision in Rabat.

A statement issued by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the regional gas pipeline would enable Nigeria to provide gas to West African countries close to Morocco and Europe.

President Muhammadu Buhari is on a two-day visit to the North African country.

According to the presidential aide, the signing of the agreements was witnessed by Buhari and King Mohammed V1 after a meeting between the two leaders in the Moroccan capital.

He said the meeting focused on strengthening of relations in gas development, global investments and agricultural training and management.

He said the Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji and the Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Management of Phosphate in Morocco, Mr. Mostafa Terrab, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of ammonia plant in the country.

The cooperation agreement on vocational training was signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and his Moroccan counterpart, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch.

He said the training would enhance skills on effective management of agricultural activities in Nigeria.

The statement read: “The feasibility study of the agreement on the pipeline, which was signed by the Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Farouq Garba, and Mrs. Amina Benkhadra, Director General of the National Office of Hydrocarbon and Mines, will be concluded by July 2018.

“The construction of the pipeline will be phased and based on increasing needs of the countries crossed, and Europe, for the period of 25 years.

“The Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline, designed to be 5,660km long, will reduce gas flaring in Nigeria and encourage diversification of energy resources in the country, while cutting down poverty through the creation of more job opportunities.

“The NMGP will further encourage utilisation of gas in the sub-region for cooking, and discourage desertification.”

Cocoa House in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria, was built with the earnings from exports of cocoa beans and at 26 storeys was once the country’s tallest building.

Profits from sales of the commodity — prized around the world as the basic ingredient for chocolate — used to be ploughed into providing free education and health services, rural development and other infrastructure projects.

But today, like the sector from which it takes its name, Cocoa House is a shadow of its former self: the paint is faded, the roof is failing and offices lie empty.

“Cocoa House used to be the glory of the west,” said Pa Olusina Adebiyi, referring to Nigeria’s former Western Region, which was reorganised into smaller, separate states from 1967.

“If you go there now, it’s an eyesore with all sorts of characters loitering in the area,” the 85-year-old former clerk in the building told AFP.

Agriculture was once the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and provided jobs for more than 70 percent of the population until the discovery of oil.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his government are now trying to revive agriculture to diversify the oil-dependent economy that has been battered by the fall in global crude prices.

One sector seen as ripe for development is cocoa and the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) has outlined a 10-year action plan to boost production.

“We have made laudable recommendations that can change the cocoa story in Nigeria,” said CAN president Sayina Riman.

“We hope those recommendations will be faithfully implemented in the interests of the industry.”

Price differences

Riman pointed out that Nigeria’s oil industry, which accounts for some 70 percent of government revenue and 90 percent of foreign earnings, was initially developed using cocoa money.

As oil’s stock rose, cocoa’s declined and since the 1970s, it has been the West African giant’s “most neglected commodity”, he added.

Production in 2016 was 237,000 tonnes, according to data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Ivory Coast produced 1.47 million tonnes and Ghana 859,000 tonnes.

Nigeria has two cocoa harvests: the smaller mid-crop from April to June and the main crop from October to December.

On his three-hectare (7.4-acre) cocoa farm in the village of Sofolu in Ogun state, Oluranti Adeboye was busy with a cutlass and a long stick.

“The weather has been good this year. Early rains have boosted my crop,” said the skinny 62-year-old former civil servant, as he prepared to harvest ripe cocoa pods.

“These cocoa pods are better than what I got last season.”

Bare-chested, he gathered the pods into sacks to ferment before drying them in the sun for sale to buyers for export.

Adeboye said farmers were losing crops to pests and black pod disease — a fungus that affects cacao trees — while they had limited access to better seedlings.

“These trees were planted more than 10 years ago. They are old and worn-out. We need new seedlings and improved varieties but the resources are not there,” he said.

Adeboye grumbled about young people’s lack of interest in cocoa farming while Sunday Ojo Folorunso, from neighbouring Ondo state, complained about commodity prices.

“Currently, we sell a kilogram of cocoa for 650 naira at the farm while a metric tonne is between 650,000 naira and 680,000. This is far too small for our efforts,” he said.

“Farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana are well-motivated to increase productivity because they are paid handsomely for their crops.”

Funding problem

Experts and scientists said Nigeria can boost production with improved seedlings, fertilisers, new farming methods, pesticides and better coordination among research bodies.

“There is great future for the industry in Nigeria,” said Ranjana Bhattacharjee of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan.

“Farmers can be assisted to raise output from an average of 300kg per hectare to 800kg per hectare to boost their productivity and income.

“What is needed is concerted effort by all the stakeholders on how to provide farming materials to farmers to boost their output.”

Bhattacharjee said Nigeria should take a cue from Ivory Coast and Ghana which process cocoa beans into chocolate and other products to earn more money.

Nigeria used to have more than 20 processing factories but poor electricity supply and other amenities cut that back to three.

One scientist at the state-run Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), who asked not to be identified, said funding was an issue for research.

“At CRIN, you will find aged trees that are no longer producing. Some of them are as old as the institute itself,” he said. CRIN was set up over 60 years ago.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Opeyemi Bamidele, has been flown to the United Kingdom for further treatment.

Our correspondent learnt that he was flown in a private jet belonging to a former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, on Friday night after receiving treatment at Euracare Multi-Specialists Hospital on Victoria Island, Lagos.

Bamidele and five others were shot at a reception rally organised for the All Progressives Congress candidate for the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at the party’s secretariat in Ado Ekiti on June 1.

He was flown to Lagos last Sunday in an air ambulance after doctors at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, extracted two bullets from his abdomen and leg.

A source told our correspondent on Saturday that Bamidele was flown to the UK on the insistence of Tinubu that he be exposed to treatment in line with best global practice. Recall that Bamidele served as a Commissioner for Information and Strategy under Tinubu.

“He (Bamidele) had started cracking jokes at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, where a surgery was performed on him before he was flown to Lagos for further treatment,” the source said.

Bamidele’s media aide, Ahmed Salami, confirmed that his principal has been flown abroad for “post-surgery management”. He also dispelled the rumour that Bamidele was flown abroad because of fears over his health.

“He (Bamidele) is fully stabilised, so there is no cause for alarm. He only went abroad for a post-surgery management and to get prepared for the task ahead. He actually walked into the plane.”

There were also indications that the riot policeman that fired the shots that injured Bamidele and the politician he escorted from Lagos were still in police custody.

Our correspondent gathered that the Police in Ekiti have concluded the orderly room trial of the policeman said to be serving with 20MPF in Lagos and that he would soon know his fate.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Ekiti, ASP Caleb Ikechukwu, confirmed this to our correspondent in Ado Ekiti.

He said, ‘We have concluded the orderly room trial but there is a laid down procedure to follow. At the appropriate time, the public will know about it.”

Ikechukwu said the policeman was still recovering from the injuries he sustained when the mob lynched him.

He also confirmed that the unnamed politician was still in the custody of the police and would be charged to court as may be necessary for illegally engaging the services of the policeman.

Meanwhile, loyalists of Bamidele have said the shooting of their principal won’t derail their focus of actualising the victory of the APC in the July 14 election.

They pledged their commitment to the success of the APC governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in the election.

The decision was reached during a meeting held at the residence of a former chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Akin Olayisade, in Ado-Ekiti, which was a follow-up to a meeting earlier held with Fayemi at his residence in Isan Ekiti.

The declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day in honour of Chief MKO Abiola will not be complete without Nigerians knowing the result of the election, the Senate has said.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to a motion by Ekiti state lawmaker, Biodun Olujimi, on Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Chief Abiola was presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election but till date, the result has not been fully announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Olujimi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to honour Abiola for his contribution to Nigeria’s democracy.

“I salute the courage of President Buhari for this. However, there are some issues that should be addressed so that we will be confident that this is not a Greek gift,” Olujimi said.

“The results of that election was never announced. This is the time for the result to be properly announced by INEC because government is a continuum. Also, MKO Abiola should be declared a president.

“If and when that is done, there has to be reparation of all his entitlements to his surviving families.

“Ambassador Babagana Kingibe must also be recognized as Vice President of Nigeria and everything must be brought to the legislature so that we can right all the wrongs.

“Also, June 12 must also be declared a public holiday for the whole of Nigeria so we can begin the celebration of Democracy Day,” she noted.

Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan, who lauded President Buhari for the action, urged his colleagues in the upper legislative chamber to support the federal government in its resolve to right the wrongs of previous administrations.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however called for the amendment of the National Honours Act to provide for the award of honours to Nigerians who may have passed on.

Senate President Bukola Saraki commended the recognition of Abiola to the struggle for Nigeria’s democracy.

The decisions were upheld by the Senate after they were put to voice vote by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Former media to former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said the current travails of the Senate President Bukola Saraki are a reward for betraying Jonathan.

The Nigerian Police Sunday invited Senate President Bukola Saraki and Kwara State governor Ahmed Abdulfattah to answer allegations surrounding their alleged link with persons behind the deadly robbery of some banks in Offa in April.

‘The sad fact is that if @BukolaSaraki had not betrayed Jonathan, Buhari wouldn’t have the power to victimize Saraki,” Omokri tweeted on Sunday. “Indeed, you reap what you sow.”

Aside from his indictment by the police on the matter, the Senate President also had some men of the Department of State Services (DSS) attached to his office withdrawn.

Saraki has denied culpability in the crime. Instead, he accused the Nigerian police boss of framing him up in the crime.

“This plot is concocted to embarrass me,” he said. “And in the mind of the IGP, it is his own response to the action taken by the Senate against him after his refusal to honour the invitation by the National Assembly, headed by me, for him to come and offer explanations on the rampant killings and violence across the country.”

Saraki and Jonathan were both in the People’s Democratic Party before the former, along with other members of a faction of the party, known as nPDP, defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress in 2014.

The nPDP bloc in the APC recently said the ruling party has not been fair to it, claiming that its members have not really benefited from the party.

However, Omokri said there was no way Saraki would have sponsored a bank robbery since he sits atop a hefty annual budget.

“Do the Buhari admin even reason? The amount of money stolen during the #OffaBankRobbery is not up to the amount of money that @BukolaSaraki gives out to the masses during Sallah. The Senate President sits atop a ₦100 billion annual budget. Why would he sponsor a bank robbery?”

“The Police has got approval from Buhari to arrest @BukolaSaraki. This is the same police that could not arrest pension thief Maina, or killer herdsmen, or those who killed RCCG’s Pastor Eunice Elisha. The same policSenate can’t rescue that the senate president,” Omokri said.

SOURCE – Guardian

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has invited Senate President Bukola Saraki to answer allegations surrounding his alleged link with persons behind the deadly robbery of some banks in Offa in April.Five principal suspects among 15 others, who were paraded at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, in connection with the incident, had indicted the Senate President in their statements.

Saraki, however, denied the allegation. In a statement by his spokesman, Yusuf Olaniyonu, he said: “Members of the public will remember that on May 16, 2018, I alerted the Senate about the information passed on to me by my state governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, over a plot by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to frame me up by getting some suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin to implicate me. It is believed that the timely leakage of the plot in that case aborted the use of the suspected cultists to implicate me. Now, it is the Offa bank robbery suspects that are about to be used.

“This plot is concocted to embarrass me. And in the mind of the IGP, it is his own response to the action taken by the Senate against him after his refusal to honour the invitation by the National Assembly, headed by me, for him to come and offer explanations on the rampant killings and violence across the country.“As a person who has utmost respect for the rule of law and all constitutional institutions, when the invitation from the police is formally extended to me, I will be ready to honour it without any delay.”

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, yesterday, said: “Senate President Bukola Saraki has been invited to report to the police to answer allegations indicting him from confessions of five gang leaders arrested for active participation in Offa bank robbery and killing of 33 innocent persons.

“The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, is being invited by the Nigeria Police Force to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja, to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the five robbery gang leaders.” He said the gang leaders and some of the principal suspects arrested for their role in the robbery and the killing of innocent persons had made confessional statements admitting to the various criminal roles they and their sponsors played in this crime.

“During interrogation, the five gang leaders in paragraph 2 further confessed and volunteered statements that they carried out the bank robberies, the attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters in Offa and the killing of 33 innocent persons during the robbery of the banks.“The five gang leaders further confessed during investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement (a.k.a. “Good Boys”) and also admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.”

“In the course of discreet investigation into the confessions of these five gang leaders and the other 17 principal suspects, a Lexus Jeep GX-300 (Ash Colour) with a sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” used by the gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun ‘M’ 37 years) during the bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin on May 16, 2018 where the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” was removed before another plate number (Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM) registered in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall commander of the Offa bank robbery, was then attached to the vehicle to cover up the identity of the said vehicle.

“The exhibit vehicle was subsequently recovered from the premises of the Ministry of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State while the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” removed from the vehicle was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the said Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin immediately after the bank robbery.

“The Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan, who is privy to information that the police were looking for the Lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons directed one Adeola Omiyale to relocate the Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin. The PA (Political) is currently in police custody and has made useful statement assisting the police in further investigation into the case. A revolver pistol and pump action gun were recovered by the police investigation team from the Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan’s farm where he directed his brother to hide them after his arrest by the police.

“In order to conceal evidence, the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Yusuf Abdulwahab, who had been arrested and taken into police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” from the exhibit vehicle and also registered the exhibit Lexus Jeep used in the Offa bank robbery and the killing of 33 innocent persons in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall gang commander of the Offa bank robbery while he (Ayoade Akinnibosun) was already in police custody for more than six days before the registration of the vehicle,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Saraki might have resolved to seek a legal battle against the police over his indictment on the Offa robbery saga.He was said to have commenced search for adequate legal counsel before taking any action on the matter.This is part of the several options he is said to be considering following declaration by the police that he had been mentioned by the suspects in connection with the robbery that took place in Offa.

Aside from his indictment by the police on the matter, the Senate President also had some men of the Department of State Services (DSS) attached to his office withdrawn.Although no official statement has emanated from the Senate President on the two incidents, unofficial sources in the National Assembly confirmed the withdrawal of the security men.

The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media Affairs, Yusuf Olaniyonu, who had hinted that a press statement should be expected from the Senate President’s office, could not be unreached when calls were made to him.

In another development, a pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said that the persecution of Saraki and other party stalkers by the Executive arm may hinder democracy in the country.

HURIWA, in a statement issued by its National Co-ordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko in Abuja, yesterday, against the backdrop of the press statement from the police indicting the Senate President as a potential suspect, said: “We in the organised civil rights community are hereby asking Nigerians not to sit back idly and laugh over the sinister scenarios that are being weaved dangerously together with the absolutely and ruthlessly anarchic hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force under the current dictatorship.

“Nigerians from all over the world must speak out before the democracy that we fought so hard to bring about is allowed to collapse into fascism before our faces. The time to speak out is now.”