By Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has stated that the response by the Police to his call for inquiry into how the prime suspect in the Offa robbery attacks on April 5, 2018 died was a mere diversionary tactic which was aimed at evading the serious issues of human rights abuse, extra-judicial killing and politicisation of criminal investigations.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Saraki said when he mentioned in his statement on Wednesday that he had been vindicated, he was not referring to the outcome of a case which is just about to commence but rather he was pointing to the belated admission by the Police that Michael Adikwu, the prime suspect, had died in custody, a fact that was initially denied by the Police when he (Senate President) raised it a few months ago.
He added that the Police in a cover up of its mishandling of the investigations and their politicization of the process, have continued to make inconsistent statements and commit more blunders.
“The Police while reacting to our disclosure that the prime suspect had died in custody, caused their spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, to respond that: ‘Michael Adikwu is in police custody in one of the South-west states…helping in the investigation’. The same Police has equally documented the claim that the suspect died during arrest. What a contradiction!
“It is surprising that the Police which initially allowed the said Adikwu to grant interviews to several national newspapers while in custody refused to inform the public that the suspect had died until the Attorney General of Kwara State mentioned it on November 21, 2018 in the course of his address to the High Court in Ilorin while applying to amend the charge sheet”, he stated.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari needs to institute inquiry into the death of Adikwu because it has several implications for the country’s legal system and its engagement with the international community which has consistently cited the issues of human rights abuse and extra-judicial killing by security forces as major reasons for their reluctance to sell arms to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.
“One of the key issues those of us who have been engaging with the international community on the need for them to support Nigeria in the fight against terrorism in the North-east region through supply of arms, provision of training and other technical aid has been confronting is that of the flagrant abuse of human rights and extra-judicial killing by our security agencies.
“This is an instance of what these international partners complain about. The Presidency should make a point that the present government does not tolerate human rights abuse, extra-judicial killing, politically-motivated criminal investigation and refusal to comply with global best practices by security agencies by instituting an inquiry into the case of the death of this suspect”, he stated.
The Senate President further called for diligent prosecution of the Offa robbery case so that justice can be done to the innocent victims of the April 5 attacks, the suspects facing trial and the state whose peace was disturbed by the sad incident.