Hundreds of youths in Ilorin, Kwara state, are protesting at the Government House, over an alleged plot to frame Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in a criminal case.
The protest, organised by a group, Kwara Agenda, was to raise the alarm over an alleged plot to link Saraki with a murder case involving one Lanre Mohammed Soliu, the son of a former Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), who was recently paraded by the police in the state over his alleged involvement in cult-related murders.
The protestors carried several placards with various inscriptions such as “Fresh plot to frame Saraki uncovered”, “stop intimidating Saraki”, “we stand with Saraki” among others were received at the forecourt of the Government House by governor AbdulFattah Ahmed.
The leader of the group, Taofiq Olateju told Ahmed that the suspect was being transported to Abuja while his crime was allegedly committed in Ilorin and appealed to men of conscience across the country to prevail on the federal government to stop intimidating and humiliating the Senate President.
The police in Kwara state paraded had last week paraded Lanre, the son of a former spokesman of the command, Alhaji Woru Mohammed, for alleged murder and membership of Aiye confraternity cult group.
Commissioner of police, Aminu Pai Saleh, also paraded an alleged notorious cultist, Abolaji Safti Ojulari, , saying that the suspect alongside 13 of his accomplices had killed 11 people, including a notorious hoodlum, Bayo Ajia, between 2016 and 2018.
The Kwara Agenda leader expressed concerned over the sudden twist introduced to the investigation of Lanre, arguing that having allegedly committed the offence in Ilorin, his trial should also be within the jurisdiction.
His words : “Our attention has been drawn to a fresh plot by the federal government to implicate the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki in a murder case involving one Lanre Mohammed Soliu.
“It is on record that Lanre Mohammed Soliu was recently paraded alongside five others by the Kwara state police commissioner, Aminu Pai Saleh, as members of Aiye confraternity cult group. Soliu was specifically accused of killing one Yemi Bayero of Ago market, Ilorin. The offences which the suspect allegedly committed were carried out in Ilorin, Kwara state, and expectedly he’s supposed to be tried in a competent court of jurisdiction in the state.
“We are, however, alarmed by a new twist to the whole issue. As we are speaking with you, Soliu is being transported to Abuja by men of Kwara state police command.
“This is not our concern, but our concern is about the plot by the powers that be to torture and force the suspect to implicate Dr Bukola Saraki. We have it on good authority that the main purpose of transferring the self- confessed cultist to Abuja is to implicate the Senate President in the whole saga.
“As concerned youths of Kwara state, we want to appeal to men of conscience across the country to prevail on the federal government to stop intimidating and humiliating our God – sent leader, the President of the Senate. No Senate President in the history of this country has been so humiliated and vilified as Senator Bukola Saraki, for no just cause.
“Saraki is our leader and a law abiding citizen whose passion is to improve the lots of the common man. He should be left alone to continue the good job he and his colleagues are doing at the National Assembly.
“We are using this forum to warn those behind this fresh plot to frame and tarnish the image of our leader to retrace their steps. We have no doubt in our mind that this fresh plot like the ones before it shall fail woefully.
“Saraki remains committed to the cause of the Nigerian masses, and their prayers and support shall always keep him going and ensure his victory over his adversaries.”
In his response, Governor Ahmed commended their maturity in carrying out the protest and promised to deliver the message from the youths to the appropriate authorities.
In a related development, the state government also issued a statement expressing concern over the transfer of the suspect. In the statement, Senior Special Assistant (Media), Dr. Muideen Akorede quoted the state’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Jimoh Mumini, as expressing worry over the development after an emergency Security Council meeting chaired by Ahmed.
Jimoh noted that the offence for which the suspects were arrested are state offences which are triable under the state laws. He said that though the representative of the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, Aminu Pai Saleh at the meeting said that the four suspects were transferred to Abuja for further investigation, the state Ministry of Justice has successfully prosecuted suspected cultists and killers at the State High Court under the penal code.
The DPP therefore urged the police to speed up their investigation and return the suspects to Kwara State so as to commence trial as done by the Ministry of Justice in respect to similar offences and offenders in the past.
The statement also quoted the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Daniel Ogungbe as noting that the concern of the state government was based on the urgency with which the suspects were transferred to Abuja.
According to Ogungbe the suspects should have been tried in the State rather than being transferred to the federal capital and expressed hope that the investigation and trial will not be hijacked for political purposes.
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