Following the invitation extended by the police to Senate President Bukola Saraki to report at one of its offices in Abuja to respond to allegations levelled against him over his purported involvement in the Offa bank robberies, members of the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Monday withdrew from the reconciliatory talks with the presidency and the ruling party.
It was reported that Saraki had accepted to send a written explanation to the police over the allegation linking him to the armed robberies, which led to deaths of 33 persons in Offa, Kwara State last April.
The Senate President’s decision to respond to the police in writing, came after they backtracked on their demand that the Senate President reports to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja, to answer to the allegations levelled against him by the five suspected gang leaders of the Offa robberies and 17 other suspects.
The nPDP was scheduled to hold the second round of talks with the presidency and the APC leadership Monday to look into their complaints and to find ways of addressing them.
Monday’s peace meeting was to be attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (APC) and Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Senator Lawan Shuaibu, while members of nPDP were to be led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
However, the meeting failed to hold after the leadership of nPDP boycotted it blaming its action on the alleged bad faith exhibited by the presidency and the leadership of the ruling party.
The chairman of the nPDP group, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, in a statement, said the group could not continue negotiations in a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life.
The nPDP bloc of the APC recalled that there had been ongoing talks between its members, the APC and the presidency in recent days.
It also recalled that a team from the nPDP led by Dogara and four others, were to meet with Osinbajo Monday.
Kawu said, “However, while we are truly and earnestly committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC as we approach the 2019 general election, it appears that the presidency is not interested in the talks and that they may have been negotiating in bad faith.
“We were alarmed that immediately after our meeting with the vice-president last week, the presidency misrepresented what transpired at the meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors involved in the discussions in a national daily.
“Similarly, the leadership of the party (APC) went ahead to ratify all the congresses from wards, local governments, states and zonal where many of our members have complaints, effectively presenting us with a fait accompli,”.
“We recognise the powers of the police to conduct criminal investigations, but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggests an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.
“It appears that there is a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life in which we now find ourselves, which may no longer be conducive for members of the former nPDP to continue with the talks.
“Given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours, where the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the executive governor of Kwara State, both of whom attended the meeting with the vice-president on Monday 28 May, 2018, have suddenly been accused of sponsoring an armed robbery by the police under the directives of the presidency.
“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, the Department of State of Services (DSS) also suddenly withdrew more than half of all the security detail attached to the presiding officers of the National Assembly under questionable circumstances.
“The nPDP leadership has decided to brief our members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions,”.