Some residents of Offa in the Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State on Tuesday staged another protest to counter the Monday protest against the invitation of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, by the police.
The police on Sunday invited Saraki over the confession of the five principal suspects in the April 5 Offa robberies in the state. The police said the confession of the suspects indicted the senate president. The Tuesday’s protesters marched from the Iyeru-Okin African LGEA Primary School, Offa, through Ibrahim Taiwo Road, to Idi-Ogun.
They turned back from Yidi Praying Ground to Owode Market, and then marched to the Palace of Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, who was on lesser Hajj.
They displayed placards with different inscriptions and sang songs in support of the police invitation to Saraki. Some of the inscriptions read, ‘Injustice is dead, justice must prevail,’ ‘RIP to the victims, Saraki is questionable,’ and ‘We cannot trade on injustice.’ Spokesperson for the Association of Concerned Offa Indigenes Home and Abroad, Muyideen Babalola, in a speech titled, ‘The wind has blown, the back of the fowl has been exposed,’ said Saraki’s invitation by the police was an answer to their prayers. He said, “The obnoxious act of April 5, 2018, when armed robbers came to Offa, killing over 50 of our dear sons and daughters and some police officers, has taken a toll on us.
“In whatever we do, our past has a way of catching up with us like a shadow. God has answered our prayers in Offa. Our cries have been heard.” Another leader of the group, Mr Femi Whyte, said they were marching for justice, adding that the blood of the dead was crying for revenge. Whyte said, “Since April 5 that the robbers attacked Offa… economic activities of the community have been adversely affected, as banks have remained closed. Our people are being subjected to the pain of travelling to other towns to access money.
“Due to the unrelenting efforts of the Nigeria Police Force… the miscreants have been nabbed… and in the course of police investigation, some top politicians were mentioned to be remotely connected with the robbery. “But to our dismay and sadness, these politicians mobilised some political jobbers to protest in their favour to jeopardise the ongoing investigation by the Nigeria police.
“It is pertinent to state here without any ambiguity that Offa people are totally against the shameless rally that took place in Offa yesterday (Monday).” He said all well-meaning sons and daughters of Offa were behind the steps being taken by the police to get to the root of the matter. He said, “We completely dissociate ourselves from the sponsored rally. “The souls of the victims are crying for justice. We are waiting for justice to be done. In Offa, we cherish justice, equity and fairnes.” Meanwhile, some leaders of the Offa community have urged caution in the claim that the arrested suspects implicated Saraki.
The National President of the Offa Descendants Union, Alhaji Najimdeen Yasin, and the Secretary General, Chief Wosilat Macarthy, in a statement said the community would appreciate thoroughness to ensure justice. They stated that the Offa people had enjoyed “kind gesture and benevolence” from Saraki. They stated that the community held Saraki in high esteem, urging all social media platforms and media organisations to validate all reports before dissemination. In a related development, scores of Kwara women in Ilorin organised a special prayer for Saraki on Tuesday.
The woman recited verses from the Holy Qur’an and prayed to God to protect him. The leader of the group, Hajia Ramat Oganija, said members of the group resorted to prayer because of their belief that the Senate president was innocent. Oganija said, “We were shocked by the development because over the years, we have known our leader, Dr Bukola Saraki, as a compassionate and kind-hearted man who can not hurt a fly. Our leader abhors violence in all its ramifications.
“He has helped many women with money to start their own business and facilitated the training of young women in vocational skills and equipped them upon graduation.” She said the group would continue to support Saraki with prayers, adding that the allegation was a set up.