The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has indicated that he would not report to the police as directed in a letter by the Inspector General, Ibrahim Idris.
Mr Saraki gave the indication in a response to the police chief dated July 24.
There was, however, a siege by security operatives including police officers on Mr Saraki’s convoy on Tuesday morning as well as on the home of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Premium Times reported that the siege was to prevent both presiding officers from reaching the Senate; and allow for their replacement by senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saraki eventually maneuvered his way to the Senate where he presided over the defection of 14 senators from Nigeria’s ruling APC.
Due to the siege at his home, Mr Ekweremadu could not attend that day’s Senate sitting.
The Nigerian police later on Tuesday frowned at Mr Saraki’s failure to appear as directed and threatened to make him face the consequence if he does not.
But according to Saraki’s letter in response to the Police summons, obtained by Premium Times, the Senate president said he was aware President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the police to obtain written statement from Mr Saraki or send personnel to question him if he is needed for questioning. The response was clearly written after the Tuesday’s Senate sitting.
“You will recall that Mr. President had earlier directed as a courtesy to this office, that in the event of any request for further information from me, you should either send your personnel to my office or obtain a written response from me,” he told the police chief.
“I request you therefore, to please 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,” he wrote in the letter.
Mr Saraki also expressed concern about his safety following Tuesday’s siege by security
Read the full letter below:
RE: LETTER OF INVITATION
I wish to acknowledge your letter, ref CR: 3000/IGPSEC/ABJ/VOL.,131/707, dated 23rd of July 2018.
- For the record, I should mention that received your letter at8:30pm on Monday 23rd July, inviting me for the next day at 8am. 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 absence of both presiding officers would have voided the sitting of the senate. This 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. These included consideration of the Electoral Bill, which was incidentally passed today.
- You will recall that Mr. President had earlier directed as a courtesy to this office, that in the event of any request for further information from me, you should either send your personnel to my office or obtain a written response from me.
- I need to place on record as well, that following the incident of being harassed and threatened at my residence by the police early this morning, I am deeply concerned over my physical security.
- I request you therefore, to please assign your personnel who need information on this matter, to meet me in my office, immediately after plenary today, ortomorrow or any other day at your convenience.
- Thank you.
Mr Saraki was initially invited for questioning in early June after some of the Offa robbery suspects allegedly confessed to being sponsored by him. But this approach was later abandoned by the police who asked him to turn in a written response to the allegations instead. The Senate President consequently sent a written response to the allegations. The police had been largely mum about the matter, until the Monday invitation.
In his initial response on Monday, Mr Saraki denied all allegations of involvement in the planning or execution of the Offa robbery in April which caused the death of over a score people.
He alleged that the police were involved in an elaborate, federal government-backed scheme aimed at railroading him into remaining at the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Although the police believe they have enough evidence to nail Mr Saraki for his alleged role in the crimes in Offa, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, however disagreed. In a letter to the police, Mr Malami’s office said it reviewed the evidence of the police and found there was no evidence that linked Mr Saraki with the crime suspects.
The police have not reacted publicly since Tuesday that Mr Saraki sent his latest letter.