Barely 24 hours after the National Assembly held a closed-door meeting where it discussed the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Police Force announced 'new revelations' it said prove Senate President Bukola Saraki has a case to answer.The force also denied reports making the rounds that it had withdrawn the invitation it earlier issued to Saraki.It insisted the Senate president is still under investigation in connection with the April 5 Offa bank robbery and would do everything possible within the law to ensure justice is done.
The lawmakers on Tuesday had maintained that if Buhari fails to meet their demands, they would invoke impeachment powers conferred on them by the 1999 constitution as amended.The ultimatum required the president to give marching orders to security agencies to curtail killings of innocent Nigerians. It called for an end to harassment and humiliation of perceived political opponents by the police.
It said the executive must ensure strict adherence to the rule of law, while the president must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees. The government must show sincerity in its fight against corruption, protect the sanctity of the National Assembly, and prosecute the persons who recently invaded the legislative premises and made away with the Senate's mace.
At a press briefing, yesterday, Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jimoh Moshood, said investigators were still looking into the case to determine if Saraki would be arrested, if he failed to honour the invitation."The ongoing investigation will be driven to a logical conclusion," he said, alleging the five gang leaders arrested by the police, following the incident, have direct connection with the Senate president.
Moshood said: "New pictures of one of the five when paraded by the police early in the week (showed he was) in 'Aso Ebi' (native attire) used during the Senate President daughter's wedding. The five admitted they attended the wedding held recently."The Force PRO revealed that three gang leaders who participated actively in the robbery followed Saraki to the palace of Olofa, the town's monarch, when the Senate president paid a condolence visit.
He said: "During the parade, the main gang leader, Ayoade Akinnibosun, mentioned three other suspected vicious and notorious political thugs in possession of firearms, ammunition and other dangerous weapons working, according to him, for the Senate President in the Kwara Central Senatorial District, namely Alhaji Kehinde Gobiri (a.k.a Captain), Alhaji Oba Shuaib Olododo (a.k.a Jawando) and Alhaji Dona.
"Two of these suspects, namely Alhaji Kehinde Gobiri, 47, native of Ilorin East LGA Kwara State; and Alhaji Oba Shuaib Olododo, 53, native of Ilorin South, Kwara State, are now in police custody and have admitted to various crimes and criminalities they committed in the District under the guise of political thuggery for the Senate President.They are currently under investigation and will be charged to court at the completion of investigation."
The Olofa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, however, absolved the Senate president of involvement in the case.In a statement signed by his Principal Private Secretary, Dr Tajudeen Oloyede, he said: "When the incident happened, the Senate President was the first top public official to pay a visit to our town. And right there, in the palace, in the glare of the High Chiefs and other well-meaning personalities, he put a call to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, requesting him to make necessary security arrangements, which our people have long yearned for.
"We wish to state that the Senate President is a former governor of Kwara State and by the grace of God the Number Three citizen of this country. We will, therefore, not be party to attempt to ridicule, embarrass, denigrate and disgrace him. We know his antecedents, family and political beliefs."We thus call on the police to be alive to their responsibility and avoid unnecessary sensationalism in the handling of the investigation. We will appreciate that this case is thoroughly investigated, devoid of media trial and unnecessary and undue publicity. Our interest remains in the law taking its course against those who unleashed mayhem and violence against our people in order to prevent recurrence of such crime in our society."
The impeachment plot, meanwhile, has continued to draw reactions.The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged Buhari to resign, saying he has failed to hold the government and the country together.In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ike Aboyi, the party's National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said: "Evidence abound globally that by parliamentary powers, the resolution of the National Assembly means that the people have lost confidence in the president and he should quit. We in the opposition have been saying it interminably that this government has no direction and does not mean well for the country."
It added: "History is a witness that when a government is bereft of ideas and still wants to cling on to power, it resorts to use of brute force, intimidation and harassment of opponents, a quality we have seen very blatantly in this regime."Former Minister of Aviation and PDP chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode, tweeted: "The ultimatum given to Buhari by the National Assembly is too little, too late. You do not warn a snake before you crush its head. You simply take your aim and strike it with one powerful and lethal blow. Buhari has committed many impeachable offences. Stop playing games! Impeach him now!"
But the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Hon. Razak Atunwa, denied there had been any impeachment move.On Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, he said the joint session merely debated national issues. "Some say we threatened the president. We never threatened anyone indeed. We only agreed on resolutions and ascertained the president takes them and acts upon them. In the resolutions, nothing like impeachment was mentioned, because we can make laws and ensure concerned agencies carry out their responsibilities. None of us mentioned impeachment in our debate at the joint session."
The Special Assistant to Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, tweeted: "Change means we are all equal before the law. It's, therefore, unfair and extremely sad that only the young Nigerians, who were caught for bank robbery, are being incarcerated. Their alleged accomplice is sitting in the chamber of the House of Senate making provoking threats."Her post was in response to an earlier tweet by one DeeOneAyekooto, who had said: "Godfather of armed robbers passed a vote of no confidence in the Inspector General of Police."