Reflections on Mrs Saraki’s July 25 Twitter Outburst

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The PRO of the Nigeria police was on ChannelsTV yesterday to answer questions bordering on what many Nigerians saw either on TV or social media, as the police barricading the residence of the Senate President on July 24 2018.

The move to barricade the residence of the top lawmaker was touted as a ploy to block him from going to the National Assembly where he was supposed to spearhead the defection of members of his party to the main opposition party, the PDP, ahead of his own widely expected move. The Senate President made it to the National Assembly after successfully evading the police barricade and escaping without being seen. At least that was the story they want us to believe.

His move on getting to the National Assembly was to officially announce the defection of the members and then immediately adjourning Senate proceedings to September ending. This was despite his own statements announcing that the police had invited him to report to them at the same time on the same day, to answer questions bordering on the protracted Offa robbery case.

What is new is the wife of the Senate President immediately reacting on Twitter and copying ChannelsTV official twitter handle, to reject the claim of the Police PRO that the vehicles seen barricading the official residence of the Senate President were vehicles attached to the Senate President’s convoy and that some of the vehicles may even be part of those protecting her, as the wife of the Senate President. She also mentioned that the police had wrongly identified one of the guests at her daughter’s wedding as one of the criminals arrested on the Offa robbery case. Even more, she made the claim that while Nigeria is challenged and needs criminal justice reforms, “it would speak better of us as a nation to conduct rights respecting processes, eschewing malicious sensationalism…”

This is the first time to my knowledge that the Senate President’s wife, despite being an active figure on social media and in many international NGO activities, has delved into the highly controversial Offa robbery case. In my opinion she spoke too late, and the following is why.

Firstly, if it is true that a guest at their family function was wrongly identified as one of the armed robbers, why have they waited till now to dispel the wrong information? The Sarakis have every tool to dispel the wrong notion. Her husband has a retinue of social media warriors famed for going after his enemies online and I have witnessed how brutally and in numbers they go after those they deem are speaking against him or his interests. It is usually classic cyber-bullying. And I am not even saying that what she said was not true. Far from it. However if I was that guest that was misconstrued as an armed robber, I would expect the Sarakis to have come to my aid and dispel it in an effective manner and immediately.

Secondly, isn’t Mrs Saraki the same person who is imploring the government of Seychelles that she is a UK citizen in the case they have against her and her husband bordering on money laundering? Why is it that the Sarakis have their names mentioned in major financial fraud cases? The government of Nigeria was not involved with the Panama papers or this recent indictment by the government of Seychelles. And in all the cases involving her husband, she is always an accomplice or co-conspirator.

Thirdly, when she mentioned our need to conduct rights respecting processes, you would wonder if it was not her husband that sits as the Senate President presently. Her husband has ran the Senate in the last 3 years as his personal kingdom, where lawmakers who dare hold opinions contrary to his and dare express such are faced with suspension. Her husband’s tenure as Senate President will also go down as the period when anyone whose existence falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate is brought to the National Assembly and ridiculed, embarrassed and shamed for not realizing that the Senate is now filled with thugs whose paths must not be crossed. As a woman who does such important work for NGOs on gender rights and stuff, what did she do while her husband presided over a Senate proceeding where Dino Melaye, the evidently arrogant senator from Kogi who coincidentally was following her about when she attended questioning by law enforcement agencies, clearly sexually intimidated Senator Mrs Tinubu on the floor? Where was the rights respecting processes then? When her husband serially suspended senators from the floor simply because they didn’t agree with him, where was the rights respecting processes then?

Fourthly, the Sarakis are the kingmakers in Kwara. I do not believe for one second that her husband or anyone in their family is involved in the Offa robbery incident. However, they know as we do already that those boys have links to them. The Kwara state governor through his aides tried hiding one of the robbers’ getaway vehicles which came from the state government. The governor’s chief of staff only just got bail for his role in hiding the vehicle and changing the plate number. The boys themselves have been recorded as saying they are boys of the governor and his principal, the Senate President. Why have the Sarakis not spoken about the issue of the governor’s aides role in hiding the robbers’ getaway vehicle? This is the state where the Sarakis reign supreme. Around 40 lives were lost to the robbery incident, and it seemed they have been part of the cover-up of the criminals who committed such heinous crimes. So my question to Mrs Saraki, what about the rights of the families of the victims to ensure that justice prevails in the police investigation, because all we have heard so far from her family until her tweets of July 25, was her husband saying he is being framed for his fight to entrench democracy in Nigeria? Which democracy? Do they as part of the political elites think we are all stupid in Nigeria?