Offa robbery: Kwara groups differ from PDP, APC over Saraki
The Kwara State chapters of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party on Friday dismissed calls by some cultural and socio-political groups that Dr. Bukola Saraki should step down as Senate President until investigation into the recent Offa robbery incident was concluded.
The state PDP chairman, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, and the state Publicity Secretary of APC loyal to Saraki, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, said there was no need for Saraki to step down from his position yet.
Two groups - Offa Youth Vanguard and Concerned Citizens of Offa Community - had asked Saraki to step aside until the investigation into the robbery incident was concluded.
Oyedepo, however, said since the Senate President had not been convicted by any court, it was premature to call on him to either resign or step aside.
He said, "Saraki has not been found guilty by any court with regards to the Offa robbery. Though the police have mentioned his name as having some gray areas to clear, but that does not mean that he has been proved guilty. The call for his resignation will be weighty when he has been convicted by a court. In that case, he will have no choice but to resign."
Similarly, Buhari said, "The call for the Senate President to resign or step aside is baseless and unfounded. Has he been convicted by any court in respect of the Offa robbery?
"It is a mere allegation which has not been proved and we know the Senate President will be vindicated at last because he is a man of peace. He abhors violence and cannot involve himself in the sponsorship or encouragement of bank robbery and killing of innocent people. He does not sponsor thugs and encourage thuggery."
Earlier, President of Offa Youths Vanguard, Mr. Femi Oyeleke, had during a media briefing in Offa, said, "All those who are allegedly involved in the act, including the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, must be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted if there are sufficient grounds to do so.
"Saraki must urgently demonstrate his clear readiness to clear whatever remains of his integrity by firstly, resigning from his position and defending himself over whatever criminal charges that may be brought against him.
"It is incumbent on him to prove his innocence on the several allegations levelled against him by some of the arrested suspects."
Also, the Concerned Citizens of Offa Community, in a statement by its President, Mr. Tunde Yusuf, and Secretary, Mr. Segun Balogun, said Saraki had a moral duty to clear his name.
Meanwhile, the Convener, Yaman Peace Frontier, Kwara State, Mr. Olawale Gbadeyan, has said the people of the state are behind the investigation of the Offa robbery incident by the police.
Gbadeyan, who is a governorship aspirant in the state, spoke on the sidelines of a special summit for peace in Kwara.
He said, "Kwara people are behind the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim, and we support him. We want him to do a thorough investigation and prosecution of whoever is involved in the Offa robbery incident.
"We have over 30 people that were killed in Offa, including nine police officers and about two pregnant women. This is not what Kwara is known for. Kwara is known as the 'State of Harmony', where there is peace but the recent events happening in Kwara State are alien to us."