Chairman of the Kwara State chapter of the opposition political party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, has narrated what he called his personal brush in the past with the arrested Offa banks robbery gang.
In a statement, the politician said he knew most of the gang members as ‘Saraki boys’, adding that they live on the Senate President’s patronage, including Kwara State government led by Alhaji Fatai Ahmed.
“The state government and Saraki have bought vehicles for the boys and I have had cause to raise the alarm on a radio programme to condemn the action in the immediate past.
“The vehicles in possession of the boys are without registered numbers. They were driving them around with customised number plates which have Saraki’s name inscribed on them.
“The fact that the boys were ( allegedly ) on the payroll of the state government was enough to dismiss insinuations that Saraki and Ahmed are being unnecessarily victimised by the police . So , it is better for them to go and clear the grey areas before creating an impression that they are being persecuted . I don’ t believe that they are suffering any form of persecution.
“I have witnessed some of the activities of the boys before and I was even a victim of their acts of thuggery in the past.
“They are used to disturbing the electorate and electoral process in Kwara State. I do not want people to mix the Offa robbery up with the violent activities of the thugs. I am not saying that Saraki participated in the robbery . I cannot even claim that he sent them to go and rob.
“No! But he emboldened them to live a life of crime. The boys relied on the authority of the number three citizen in Nigeria , fully armed with guns and all other instruments of violence , to do anything because they also enjoy the legitimate cover of government.
“Anybody with such patronage from high places will definitely take to the life of crime. So , the issue of robbery is a separate case . It is a known fact that Saraki and Ahmed are making use of those boys to perpetrate violence against perceived enemies during elections . When they are short of funds, they take to robbery.
“There is therefore, a nexus between the encouragement and patronage they are getting from the state government and the crime they committed.”
“So that is what we should look at instead of putting up an argument that they were not sent to go and rob.” ~ Says The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo.