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Offa robbery: Court summons Saraki over fresh criminal complaint

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A Grade I Area Court in Aco Estate, Lugbe , Abuja , has ordered the Inspector – General of Police , Mr . Ibrahim Idris , to serve a summons on the Senate President , Dr . Bukola Saraki , to compel him to face a criminal complaint initiated against him by a private lawyer in respect of the bloody bank robbery in which many died in Offa , Kwara State, earlier this year .The criminal complaint was initiated by an Abuja- based lawyer and rights activist, Oluwatosin Ojaomo , whose lawyer told the court on Monday that the IGP had given assurance that the necessary court papers would be served on the Senate President .

The police had said their investigations linked Saraki to the kingpin of the robbery operation .

The Senate President is the sole defendant in the criminal complaint initiated by the private lawyer .

The criminal complaint marked , CR / 196 / 2018 , was said to have been initiated by Ojaomo under Section 89 ( 5 ) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act , 2015 .

It sought Saraki to be summoned for allegedly ignoring police invitation to answer to an allegation involving the investigation of the suspects of the Offa robbery .

The complaint stated that Saraki’ s alleged refusal to honour the invitation amounted to obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility .

This alleged conduct , it said , was an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law .

The judge handling the case at the Grade 1 Area Court, Aco Estate , Lugbe , Federal Capital Territory , Abuja , Abdullahi Garuba Ogbede , had , on September 10 this year , ordered the issuance of a summons on Idris following Saraki ’ s absence from court .

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On Monday , the complainant ’ s lawyer , Mr E . S . Marcus , said he was informed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Legal Unit of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, identified as Mahmoud , that the IGP had directed the legal unit to ensure the prompt service of the court papers on Saraki before the next hearing date of October 3 , 2018 .

He said , “ The defendant is not in court . At the last date , the court issued a witness summons on the IGP to come and show cause why the police failed to effect service of the criminal summons, warrant of arrest and other processes on the defendant .

“ The witness summons was served on the Nigeria Police Force by the court ’ s registry .

“ However , we received a call from DSP Mahmoud of the Legal Department of the Nigeria Police Force headquarters , that the matter has been assigned by the IGP to a particular unit of the NPF to effect the service of the summons on the defendant and arrest him . ”

Marcus explained in court on Monday that his client , who was supposed to bear the responsibility of serving Saraki with the complaint, had to resort to seeking the IGP ’ s involvement in accordance with Section 122 of the ACJA , when it became difficult for him to serve the Senate President .

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According to the lawyer , the Inspector -General of Police is required , under the law , to either produce the defendant in court or attend court to explain why the defendant was absent .

He then applied to the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the police to serve the processes on Saraki .

The judge , Ogbede , granted Marcus ’ request and adjourned the case till October 3 .

The criminal complaint against the Senate President read , “ Criminal complaint brought pursuant to Section 89 ( 5 ) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA ) 2015 . Please , cause a summons for a direct criminal complaint on the defendant on the following terms :

“ That you , Dr Bukola Saraki, on or about the 24 th day of July, 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court , did refuse to honour the invitation of the Inspector – General of the Nigeria Police Force to report at the police headquarters in FCT , Abuja to answer to an allegation involving the investigation of some criminal suspects involved in a case which the Nigeria Police Force is currently investigating , thereby obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility.

“ You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law , whereas , the complainant is praying the court to charge the defendant accordingly. ”

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