On the second application for the post mortem examination (autopsy) on the corpse of the late Michael Adiukwu, the Judge dismissed it as baseless and pointless wondering if the same ruling could be given in respect of the five Fulani men allegedly killed in their presence.
She, therefore, adjourned the case until the eight of next month while the defense counsel bared his mind on granting and non-granting of the applications.
Akinnibosun claimed that five men were shot dead in his presence and that of other suspects, in order to force them to do the bidding of the police.
He alleged that he was forced to sleep on the spot where the men were killed, adding that his hands and legs were tied for days.
The suspect also told the trial judge that six hefty stones were placed on his back and denied food for nearly one week while he was being tortured.
He said they were kept inside the generator room at Police Headquarters Abuja while a dismissed police officer, identified as Michael Adiukwu, was brought to identify them if they were part of the robbery gang.
According to Akinnibosun, the man denied knowing them and was shot dead on the spot.
Afterwards, he said he was shown an already written statement which he was asked to sign and agreed to do so for fear of being killed.
The suspect insisted that whatever he said during the parade of the press conference was written for him to memorise and confess to the public.
He claimed that the police warned him not to implicate them that the statement was made under duress.
Akinnibosun told the trial judge that he was given a four-page statement to sign but he could not because his fingers were not functioning due to torture.
He said one of his fingers was placed on the documents for thumb printing and his request to read and go through the statement was turned down.
After giving his testimony, the suspect was cross-examined by the prosecution counsel.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe, asked for further medical checkup to determine if the wounds Akinnibosun sustained were truly from gunshots.
Justice Salman, however, turned down the request until proper trial.
The second accused, Ibikunle Ogunleye, was thereafter called to the dock and he corroborated the first accused, Akinnibosun’s testimony of how he was tortured and how Michael Adiukwu was killed.
In his testimony, the third accused person Abraham Adeola also repeated the same process of how they were tortured both at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) office in Ilorin and Abuja.
The Nigeria Police on Thursday said the death of the principal suspect in the Offa bank robbery, Michael Adikwu, cannot vindicate the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, the evidence from the five suspects now in court are enough to prosecute the Senate President.
“The Death of Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs (A Dismissed Police Man and an Ex- Convict) a sectional gang leader who confessed to have killed 22 persons including pregnant women and nine Police personnel during Offa Bank Robbery cannot vindicate the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the law must take its course,” the statement read in part.
The police stance on the reported death of Adikwu follows Saraki’s claim that the trial was politically motivated.
Saraki had earlier on asked the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into the ‘how and when’ the suspect died.
He stated further that the new disclosure by the police has vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in police custody and that the investigation was politically motivated to implicate him, Governor Abdul-Fatai Ahmed and a few others.
Contrary to Saraki’s claim, the police insisted that the arrest of the robbery suspects “was not politically motivated as alleged by Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki to the media, but purely a criminal case.”
The police spokesman stated, “Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs was not murdered but slumped and died in detention while an investigation into the Offa Bank Robbery was ongoing.
“It is also important for the public to know that the deceased Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs was not among the Five (5) gang leaders that indicted and implicated the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, therefore, his death cannot in anyway vindicate Senator Bukola Saraki.
“There is a post-mortem examination result in respect of the death of Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs.”
During the arraignment of the suspects before an Ilorin High Court on Wednesday, the Kwara State Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Kamaldeen Ajibade told Justice Halimat Salman that the Force Headquarters informed him of Adikwu’s death.
The commissioner also told the court that there would be an amendment to the charges preferred against the accused.
He stated that the amendment was necessary in view of the information about Adikwu’s death, and non-representation of the accused persons by a lawyer.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has questioned the death of Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, demanding an investigation.
Saraki in a statement signed on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into how and when the principal suspect died in police custody.
“Following eventual disclosure by the Police that Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, on April 5, 2018, is dead, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into the ‘how and when’ the suspect died.”
The Senate President added that the new disclosure by the police has vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in police custody and that the investigation was politically motivated to implicate him, Governor Abdul-Fatai Ahmed and a few others.
“It should be recalled that when we mentioned it that the principal suspect had been murdered and that investigation into the Offa robbery attack was politically motivated and targeted at implicating me and other individuals, the Police Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh said: ‘Michael Adikwu is in Police custody.
“You know that he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. The firearms that were carted away, he is helping the police in the investigation to recover them. There is a state in the South-west where they kept him. I can’t mention the state. It is in one of the South-west states’.
“The fresh facts have now thrown more light into why there had been inconsistencies in the various statements by the police. The Police initially told the Attorney-General of Kwara State that the principal suspect was alive and they only later reluctantly disclosed that he died in the course of the arrest.
“How can a suspect confirmed to be in custody now be said to have died in the course of arrest? This contradiction shows a deliberate attempt to cover up something,” he said.
Saraki added that an inquiry into the death would help to thoroughly examine and interrogate how the investigation into the robbery incident was conducted by the police and whether the investigation followed the normal process and complied with global best practices.
The Kwara State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Kamaldeen Ajibade, has told an Ilorin High Court that the principal suspect in the deadly Offa bank robbery, Michael Adikwu has died in police custody.
He disclosed this to the Justice Halimat Salman on Wednesday, when five suspects in the Offa Bank Robbery of April 5th, 2018 were arraigned before the court.
According to him, the news of the death of the suspect was conveyed to him by the force headquarters of the Nigerian police.
Ajibade also told the court that there would be an amendment to the charges preferred against the accused.
He stated that the amendment was necessary in view of the information about Adikwu’s death, and non-representation of the accused persons by a lawyer.
He also informed the court that the reason behind such amendment was that the principal suspect had made the statement with the police before his reported death.
The Commissioner also urged the court to grant an adjournment to enable his office to effect the necessary amendment to the charges.
Presiding Judge, in her ruling, Justice Halimat Salman, agreed with the state Attorney General that there was the need to effect some changes in the charges preferred against the accused in view of the reported death of the principal suspect and lack of legal representation for the accused persons.
She, therefore, adjourned the case till November 30.
The suspects that were brought to court are Ayoade Akinibosun, Ademola Abraham, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Niyi Ogundiran and Salahu Azeez.
The court, however, did not take their pleas because of new developments.
A Magistrate Court sitting in Ilorin has ruled that the five suspects arrested for the Offa robbery attack have a case to answer, even as their counsel has announced his withdrawal from the suit.
Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Abdulrasheed Lawal, announced during the further hearing of the case on Wednesday that he is withdrawing on moral grounds.
He said further that he lacks full knowledge of the case since inception.
The Magistrate, Bio Saliu, in response granted the lawyer’s withdrawal and also consented to the claim that the accused persons have cases to answer as moved by the police prosecutor.
The police prosecutor, Jimoh Abdulkadir who held brief for the Officer-In-Charge Of Legal, Kwara State Police Command had earlier informed the Magistrate of an application submitted before the court, indicating that the suspects have cases to answer.
He added that there was a need for the police to carry on in its investigations in order to allow for the arrest of more suspects and transfer them to a proper court for trial.
The Magistrate, therefore, adjourned the case to Thursday, December 6, 2018, and ordered that the accused persons remain in prison custody.
A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin has threatened the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Idris Ibrahim, with contempt of court proceeding.
The court issued the threat following the disobedience of its order to release Mr Olalekan Alabi, the Personal Assistant on Political Matters to Kwara State Governor, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed.
The warning was contained in a ‘Notice of Consequences of Disobedience of Order of Court (Form 48)’ dated August 10, 2018.
The document, signed by the Registrar of the Court and addressed to the IGP, read, “Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in the order of the High Court of Justice of Kwara State delivered on the 1st of August 2018, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
Mr Alabi has been in police custody since May 30 after he was arrested for his alleged connection with the suspects who carried out a robbery attack on some banks in Offa town of Kwara State.
On August 1, Justice Ibrahim Yusuf of the Kwara State High Court granted the governor’s aide an interim bail after declaring that his continued detention was illegal and not justifiable.
Justice Yusuf held that the police had failed to justify why they have kept Alabi in detention for more than two months.
Despite the court order, the police have failed to release the governor’s aide from their custody.
The lead counsel to the suspect, Adelodun Ibrahim, condemned the police for failing to release another suspect Babatunde Abdulwahab who is the chief of staff to the governor over the same incident.
Ibrahim said despite the fact that he had been granted bail by another high court in the state he has remained in police custody.
The lawyer explained that the refusal of the police to obey the court order on Abdulwahab was worrisome as it portends grave danger to the deepening of democracy and might lead to a loss of confidence in the fairness of the police to handle such cases among the populace.
“The police have obviously corrupted and politicised their investigations into the Offa robbery incident,” he alleged shortly after the news of his invitation broke.
“They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witch-hunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambition, and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.”
The Senate President claimed that the police had already decided on the suspects to arraign in court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Wednesday, based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed Etsu.
According to him, the decision to invite him was a ploy aimed at scoring cheap political points and to stop an alleged plan by some senators and members of the House of Representatives from defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senator Saraki, however, insisted that he would be not intimidated by anyone and that he had nothing to do with the Offa robbery.
“While I continue to maintain that the issue of my position on the 2019 elections is not a personal decision for me alone to make, it should be noted that all these concoctions and evil plot cannot deter me. Those behind this fresh assault will fail as I have nothing to do with the robbery incident or any criminal matter for that matter,” he said.
The Senate President added, “I want to make it apparent that I have no hand in either the robbery incident or any criminal activity. The police in their haste to embarrass me sent the invitation to me at 8:00 pm and requested that I report to the station by 8:00 am tomorrow morning. This obviously demonstrated their desperation as I do not see why they are now in a hurry.
“They also stated in today’s letter that because in my response of June 7, 2018, to their own letter written on June 4, 2018, I stated that I was responding simply to the contents of the letter and that the full text of the statement made by the arrested suspects which they claimed indicted me was not made available to me, they were now including the suspects statements in the current letter. Yet, instead of including the suspects’ statements, they only attached two copies of my own letter to the invitation. No suspects statement was made available.”
“Once again, my confidence in God and our judicial system remains intact and unshaken. The truth shall also prevail in this case,” he added.
Mr Idris referred to a letter from the police dated June 4, 2018, as well as a letter of response from the Senate President dated June 7, 2018, on the deadly attack of April 5, 2018, in Offa.
He recalled that the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) had launched an investigation into the incident which claimed 31 lives, including nine police officers and pregnant women while the suspects made away with some AK 47 rifles.
Worst Armed Robbery
The IGP said investigation revealed that a CCTV footage captured the image of two persons involved in the attack, who were later identified.
“The two persons were tracked and arrested by the police and they made very useful statements and named the five gang leaders who organised the armed robbery,” he said.
“Some of the five gang leaders made confessional statements admitting their participation in this worst armed robbery in the history of Nigeria and that they are political thugs under the name, Youth Liberation Movement aka ‘Good boys’.”
The police boss stated that the suspects also claimed the group was sponsored by the Senate President, and that he allegedly gave them “firearms, money and vehicles”.
He added that another suspect, who drives a vehicle with an alleged plate number indicting Saraki, claimed to be the head of the group which reportedly covers about seven local governments areas of Kwara South.
Mr Idris noted that the suspect, in his confessional statement, said members of his group were political thugs allegedly working for Dr Saraki and the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
He said the gang leader also mentioned three other thugs in Kwara Central allegedly sponsored by the Senate President, saying, “Everyone in Kwara Central fears them because of their guns and ability to kill anybody without hesitation”.
The IGP then referred to Senator Saraki’s response to the allegations, quoting him as saying, “By virtue of my participation in politics, I have a large followership which makes it impossible for me to know all of them. I can say categorically that I am in no way associated with the vehicle mentioned in your letter nor have I given any arms to any thug or other persons in Kwara State or anywhere else. For the records, your letter under reference did not include the full text of the statements made by the accused persons.”
In view of this, Mr Idris disclosed that the police have decided to invite the Senate President for further clarification on the matter.
He said, “After a careful perusal of your letter to the police, it was discovered that the statement requires further clarification and coupled with the fact that you stated that the full text of the statements of the suspects was not shown to you, it is imperative you report to the police to make further statements after giving you the full text of the statements of the suspects.”
Senator Saraki and Governor Ahmed have since denied any involvement in the attack or sponsoring any political thug.