Nigerian police on Sunday summoned the head of the upper house of parliament for questioning after members of a criminal gang implicated him following a brutal bank robbery operation that left 33 people dead.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, the third-most powerful politician in the country, served from 2003 to 2011 as state governor of Kwara, where the brazen daylight robberies took place in the central town of Offa on April 5.
National police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said 22 suspects have been arrested over the robbery of six Offa banks, including five ringleaders who alleged Saraki’s involvement in the gang.
He said the gang leaders confessed to be working for Saraki as “political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement a.k.a. ‘Good Boys’.”
They also “admitted and confessed to having been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.”
Moshood said a Lexus jeep purportedly owned by Saraki and used during the robberies had been traced to the government office in Ilorin, Kwara’s state capital. Two of the governor’s personal aides had also been arrested, he said.
“Investigation is ongoing and effort is being intensified to arrest other suspects still at large. All suspects involved will be arraigned in court for prosecution on completion of investigation,” he added.
The embattled Saraki, who is currently facing graft charges, last month hinted of a plot by the police to implicate him in the robberies, but the police dismissed the allegation.
Saraki is a member of the ruling party All Progressive Congress (APC), as are President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.