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The Police on Wednesday night described the failure of the President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to honour its invitation on the Offa, Kwara State robbery incident of April 5 as disrespectful.

The Force Public Relations Office, Deputy Commissioner of Police Jimoh Moshood, stated the position of the police on Wednesday on a television programme.

The police had invited Saraki via a letter by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

Idris directed Saraki to report to the IGP Intelligence Response Team.

But Saraki did not honour the invitation but sent another written response.

Reacting to the development, Moshood said: “On the 23rd of July, an invitation was sent to him.

“We were expecting him by 8 am on Tuesday for further investigation into the Offa bank robbery where 33 people were killed.

“The position of the law is that anybody that was alleged to have committed an offence must make himself present.

“He has sent a written statement to the investigation team and it was not satisfactory.

“There are lots of grey areas that need to be cleared, and that is why he was invited.

“The investigators have been directed to take all actions within the ambit of the law to ensure that there is compliance with the law because the bottom line is that we have a case that can stand the test of a trial against the Senate President and we don’t want people to politicize criminality.

“He was indicted based on the confession of five principal suspects in Offa robbery.”

On how the Police perceived Saraki’s refusal to honour its invitation, Moshood said: “We are treating it as a disrespect to the law and we are going to take appropriate action to ensure that he complies with the rule of law because nobody is above the law.”

Speaking on the alleged blockade of the residence of Saraki on Tuesday morning when he was expected to have gone to attend the summon, Moshood said: “If we were expecting him, why would we go and block him?

“We had no hand in the blockade and two press statements were sent from my office on Tuesday on the directive of the IGP for the public to know what actually transpired.

“We have over 170 Police Mobile Force personnel attached to the National Assembly and about 40 are attached directly to the Senate President.

“Outside that, we have the Special Protection Unit that is equally attached to him.

“We have the ADC, the CSO.

“We have a lot of other police personnel, including those who are riders and drivers.

“So what happened yesterday (Tuesday) was not a blockade by our personnel.

“We didn’t block the residence.

“Those seen in the picture and video were personnel that were attached to him because we don’t even use Mercedes Benz for patrol.

“We don’t have any Mercedes Benz in our fleet for patrol and in that picture, there was a Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

“Those are the personnel attached to the convoy of the Senate President and those attached to his residence for his protection.

“We have the obligation to also protect his family.

“The wife has policemen attached to her.

“Also his guest house and other houses are equally protected.

“So those seen were those attached to the Senate President, but the IG, concerned with public interest and the need to let Nigerians know what transpired has directed an investigation into the matter.

“The ADC was invited because he is supposed to know the whereabouts of his principal, but if the ADC is in isolation, we would want to know who called for whatsoever additional police personnel seen there because there was no authorised deployment from FHQ or any other formation to block his residence.

“You don’t go and block an empty house.

“What do we stand to gain by doing that?

“We have other means for which if we want the Senate president to comply with the dictates of the law, he would and he was invited and we were waiting for him.

“Whoever is the officer that used that discretion to order a blockade is attached to the Senate president and that is what we want everybody to know.

“It was circulated for the media to embarrass us.

Apart from the pictures and videos, radio stations were also running commentary that they didn’t know the whereabouts of the Senate president as at then.

“They were also saying the house of the Deputy Senate President was blocked.

“They are the heads of the legislative arm of government and we have an obligation to protect them.

“A thorough investigation has been ordered to know who gave that directive but we strongly believe that they are among the convoy of the Senate president.

“If the whereabouts of the Senate President is not known, then the ADC has a right to exercise a discretion and if the discretion was exercised wrongly, then the Force has the responsibility to discipline him and that is why he has made the statement and he is being investigated.

“It is important for Nigerians to know that we don’t have hand in it.

“If we blocked him, he wouldn’t have appeared in the Senate but he presided over activities in the Senate.”

BIG STORY

‘I’m Not Owing Workers Any Dime’ —- Yahaya Bello Speaks After Election Victory

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Kogi State Governor-Elect, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, rubbished claims that he was owing salaries, stressing that such were “lies.”

Bello said his administration met salary backlog owed workers in the state, but insisted that his administration was not owing workers.

The governor-elect, who said this while featuring on Channels Television, also alleged that thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stabbed a resident after he was declared the winner of Saturday’s election.

Bello also alleged that the wife of his deputy was also shot after he emerged winner of the election.

He said: “All these reports of me owing salaries are lies. Past governors of Kogi State were owning salaries starting from Audu to my immediate predecessor. Kogi state is not owning any dime at the state level, what is left is the ten percent from the previous government.

“As for El-Rufai kneeling, he was begging that Kogi people should forgive Bello for ensuring security and ensuring the state was peaceful and not because he could not pay salaries.”

On the claim of people being killed during the election, Bello said: “After I was declared winner, a PDP thug stabbed somebody and ran into the house of their women leader but he was caught and dealt with.

“My deputy governor-elect’s wife was shot at but thank God she didn’t die, the police are looking into it and would bring the culprits to book.”

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Monday declared Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

INEC’s Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Ibrahim Garuba had declared Bello winner after polling 406,222 votes to defeat his closest rival, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 189,704 votes.

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BIG STORY

Falana Seeks Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians

Peter Okunoren

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce the death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr. Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offense deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively, have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence.

“Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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BIG STORY

Thugs On Rampage In Kogi, Burn PDP Woman Leader Alive In Her Home

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Hours after Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was announced the winner of the November 16 election, on Monday, thugs believed to be working for a popular party burnt alive the Woman Leader of Wada/Aro Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ochadamu Ward, Mrs. Acheju Abuh.

She was burnt alive in her home.

Chanting solidarity and victory songs, the thugs, according to neighbours, arrived at her house around 2:10 pm, “surrounded the place, poured petrol all over the house and set it on fire”.

They ensured that the woman never escaped from the house while it was burning.

Some neighbours said they watched in hiding as the thugs set the house on fire.

One of them said: “She tried to escape through a window but was prevented by the burglary-proof.

The thugs were also shooting in the direction of all the windows and doors so that she would not escape from the fire.

“She was shouting inside but there was nothing we could do as many of us could not go outside to challenge the thugs. We tried calling the police, but nobody responded. She was screaming inside until her voice could no longer be heard. When the thugs saw that the house was almost burnt to ashes, they left, shooting”.

Spokesman and Head Communications, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, confirmed the killing.

He said it was unfortunate that the woman was killed in a gruesome manner for no reason at all.

He appealed to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to ensure the arrest of the killers.

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