Fred Itua, Ndubuisi Orji, Molly Kilete, Abuja, Magnus Eze, Enugu, Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
The police yesterday came under scurrilous attacks from the senate and governors for dismissing the security breach in the Apo Quarter, Abuja home of Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, as mere burglary and not an assassination attempt.
While the lawmakers and governors faulted the burglary theory by the police as hasty, and challenged them to unmask the masterminds of the attack, Ekweremadu threatened to release video clips of how his residence was invaded by suspected assassins if the police failed to withdraw its statement that it was a case of burglary.
In its reaction to the Tuesday morning attack, the police, on its verified Twitter handle, said its preliminary investigation showed the incident was a “burglary”.
However, it added that investigation was ongoing to determine if there was any other motive behind the offence.
But adopting a motion sponsored by Enyinnaya Abaribe, the senate condemned what it described as hasty conclusion by the police.
Abaribe had in his motion, lamented that “for the police to quickly without interviewing the very person for whom this incident happened to, come out and determine that it was a burglary, actually boggles the mind.”
Ekweremadu, in a comment on the motion, disclosed that a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) visited his house with Commissioner of Police for the FCT on Tuesday afternoon to sympathise with him.
“I showed them round and, of course, they were very sympathetic of what happened.”
He informed the Senate that he was shocked “when I wake up this morning to hear police saying that what happened in my house is a mere case of burglary. I am at a loss because as we speak, they have not taken any statement from my son who was hospitialised, they have not gone to the hospital to find out what exactly happened to my son. They have invited security personnel attached to me who reported yesterday. Some are still reporting this morning.
“They (the Police) looked at the CCTV tapes operated by the DSS and a staff of my house, apparently they were not able to figure it out. So, it was easy for them to quickly dismiss what really happened.”
Ekweremadu said he had been able to figure out the correct picture of what happened and disclosed that he was in possession of the video clips of the incidence.
“Unfortunately for them, later yesterday (Tuesday) evening, a technician came and was able to figure it out and was able to produce the CCTV footage, including how they gained entry into my house and how they got a way into my room and the fight between them, my wife and my son and all the efforts we made to save our lives. I am happy that we have that in our custody, which the police is not aware of.
“I am sure that Nigeria will be shocked on what transpired and all the efforts made to save our lives. Now that the police appears to have concluded the case, unless they withdraw the statement that it is a mere case of burglary, I may now be forced to release those footage to the media and the international communities so that Nigerians and ordinary people judge whether it was a case of burglary or attempt to kill me or whether they just wanted to come to my house to have a breakfast or have a handshake with me.”
According to Ekweremadu, “it appears to me that the man who said it was a mere case of burglary does not know what burglary is about. He doesn’t need any teaching; he just needs to go into the internet and find out what burglary is really about. He can compare if it is the same with what happened in my house.”
To show it is not treating the issue with levity, the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, said it has arrested four of its officers and an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) as investigation on the attack continued.
The suspects who are currently in custody, according to the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, were being investigated for negligent acts and dereliction of duty.
Jimoh, who made this known in a statement, also said one Mohammed Yusuf, a prime suspect arrested for the act is in police custody while another suspect, Ali, is on the run.
Jimoh in the statement, said: “The Police has commenced investigation into the crime and the principal suspect Mohammed Yusuf of Kaura Namoda have volunteered confessional statement after interrogation admitting to the crime and mentioned one Ali (other name unknown) now at large, who escaped from the scene to have carried out the crime along with him. Exhibits recovered from them includes (i) motor jack (ii) big screw driver (iii) a big rod (iv) a small kitchen knife and other house breaking implements.”
Reps wade in
Notwithstanding the disclosure, the House of Representatives has launched a probe into the attack as it raised an Ad Hoc Committee.
The committee is expected to investigate among other issues, the circumstances surrounding the late response by the police to the incident.
It also charged relevant security agencies to increase security and surveillance around the Deputy Senate President, as well as other leaders of the National Assembly.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Toby Okechukwu, who in his lead debate expressed worry over the incident and the inability of the police to respond quickly to the situation.
Minority Whip Yakubu Barde said the security operatives attached to Ekweremadu has some questions to answer over the issue.
South East govs, Ohanaeze youths react
While faulting the police, governors under the aegis of South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) said the careful and methodical execution of the plot pointed to something more sinister than burglary. Director General of
SEGF, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, who addressed newsmen in Enugu, yesterday, noted that the incident cast a dark shadow on the state of security of lives and property in the country.
“We reject the hasty conclusion that the attack was a case of burglary, otherwise, the so called ‘burglars’ would not have insisted on the deputy senate president’s son taking them to his father’s bedroom. The careful and methodical execution of the plot points to something more sinister than burglary,” the forum stated.
Meanwhile, national leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths worldwide has called call on Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Muhammed and other security agencies to urgently fish out those behind the assassination plot.
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In a statement signed by the acting National Chairman, Dr. Kingsley Dozie, the group expressed disappointment over alleged late response of security and the time taken by the Nigeria Police when they were called.
“We believe that Nigeria Police is not partisan in discharging their duties of saving lives and properties,” it said.