The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, has stated that the police did not induce the Offa armed robbery suspects to make confessions against Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The armed men arrested in connection with the bloody Offa bank robbery had indicted the President of the Senate, Saraki and the Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Asked in an interview with Punch if President Muhammadu Buhari was victimizing Saraki and Ahmed through the police by linking them to the Offa robbery, Oyedepo said, “No, I do not think so. We must be objective in all our analysis or presentation on this matter.
“We should not tell lies against anybody . The grievances of the nPDP are not the same thing with the criminal allegations levelled against the Senate President and the governor.
“If they are pursuing their demands within their party without any link tocrime, nobody will accuse them of committing any crime. Their nPDP activities have nothing to do with sponsoring thugs in Kwara State.
“If they did not sponsor thugs and if those thugs did not make any confession, I believe that the Presidency and the police will not manufacture lies against the Senate President and the governor.
“For instance, I do not believe that the suspects were induced to make confessional statements because those boys are closely associated with the Government of Kwara State.
“Secondly , the state government and Saraki have bought vehicles for the boys and I have had cause to raise the alarm on a radio programme to
condemn the action in the immediate past.
“The vehicles in possession of the boys are without registered numbers. They were driving them around with customised number plates which have Saraki’s name inscribed on them.
“The fact that the boys were ( allegedly ) on the payroll of the state government was enough to dismiss insinuations that Saraki and Ahmed are being unnecessarily victimised by the police . So , it is better for them to go and clear the grey areas before creating an impression that they are being persecuted . I don’ t believe that they are suffering any form of persecution.
“I have witnessed some of the activities of the boys before and I was even a victim of their acts of thuggery in the past.
“They are used to disturbing the electorate and electoral process in Kwara State. I do not want people to mix the Offa robbery up with the violent activities of the thugs. I am not saying that Saraki participated in the robbery . I cannot even claim that he sent them to go and rob.
“No! But he emboldened them to live a life of crime. The boys relied on the authority of the number three citizen in Nigeria , fully armed with guns and all other instruments of violence , to do anything because they also enjoy the legitimate cover of government.
“Anybody with such patronage from high places will definitely take to the life of crime. So , the issue of robbery is a separate case . It is a known fact that Saraki and Ahmed are making use of those boys to perpetrate violence against perceived enemies during elections . When they are short of funds, they take to robbery.
“There is therefore, a nexus between the encouragement and patronage they are getting from the state government and the crime they committed.
“So that is what we should look at instead of putting up an argument that they were not sent to go and rob.”