A Federal Capital Territory High Court has ordered the suspension of investigation into the alleged involvement of Senate President Bukola Saraki in the Offa Bank robbery, pending further hearing on the matter.
Over 30 people were killed in the robbery of banks in Offa, Kwara State, earlier in the year.
The court made the order following an ex-parte application filed by 10 lawyers asking the court to suspend the interrogation of Mr Saraki pending the determination of the motion brought before it.
The motion dated July 30 contained a request for the court to restrain the police or their agents from arresting, interrogating, harassing or attempting to detain Mr Saraki or infringe upon what they called his fundamental rights.
In a ruling on Wednesday, the judge, M. A. Nasir, allowed the application, ordering the police to suspend further action on issues relating to the suit pending the determination of the substantive matter on August 16.
“The respondents are directed to stay all further actions related to the suit, pending the determination of the originating motion, which is hereby fixed for hearing on August 16,” the court ruled.
Mr Saraki has been invited several times for questioning by the police since the April 5 robbery in Kwara State.
According to the police, information provided by some arrested suspects indicted Mr Saraki, resulting in a need for the senate president to explain his role in the fatal robbery.
“Senate President, Sen. 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 (5) Gang Leaders, namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran and some of the other Seventeen (17) suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of THIRTY THREE (33) innocent persons which includes (some pregnant women and nine (9) Police personnel),” the police said in its first letter to Mr Saraki in June.
Following the failure of the senate president to honour the invitation, the police issued another statement asking Mr Saraki to make himself available or be arrested. Mr Saraki was later questioned by police officers at his office, after a siege at the National Assembly by security operatives prevented him from honouring the July 23 invitation.
The Senate President has denied any involvement with the suspects, describing the investigation as a plot to intimidate him.
Mr Saraki also linked the police action to his and other senators planned defection from Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress. He has since left the party for the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party.