There are growing concerns over the whereabouts of Michael Adikwu and Kayode Opadokun, two of the arrowheads of the Offa bank robbery.
In a press statement on Sunday to update the public with details of the investigation into the robbery and the invitation to Senate President Bukola Saraki to explain his alleged links to the gang, Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), had listed Kayode Opadokun, “male, 35 years, principal suspect” and “Michael Adikwu, male, 30 years, sectional gang leader, killed 22 persons, mostly at the police station” among the 22 suspects arrested so far.
However, when the Police paraded the suspects the same day, Adiku and Opadokun were missing, sparking fears that something untoward had happened. The fears thickened on Wednesday, when Moshood addressed journalists and the two names went missing on the list of arrested suspects and gang leaders.
The big fear is that both suspects, Adikwu especially, might have been extra-judicially murdered.
Information released earlier by the Police on Adikwu stated: “Michael Adikwu, is a native of Apa LGA of Benue State, a dismissed police CPL (corporal) who was arrested, tried and dismissed from the force and charged to court by the police in 2012 in Kwara State for criminal conspiracy and aiding the escape from lawful custody of armed robbery suspects.
“He served three years in prison and subsequently found his way out in 2015. He became a vicious and notorious gang leader of armed robbery syndicate wanted for several armed robberies in Kwara and other states of the north-central and south-west.”
Adikwu, though, gave Daily Trust a contrasting account of his stay in the Police, although he did admit that he had developed a thick hatred for the Police.
“I was formerly working with the Kwara State Police Command, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS),” he said.
“I was dismissed for allowing detained suspected armed robbers to walk. It was not my fault; it was a gang-up against me. Go and ask, I was one of the finest policemen at SARS, Kwara State Command. I undertake most of the difficult tasks. But for just one mistake, which was not my fault, I got kicked out of the force. I was not given fair-hearing, so I now hate everything about the police. The killing of the policemen (by him) was not a mistake, but quite deliberate. I see them as all the same.”
His absence at the last hearing has alerted the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) — a network of 46 civil society organizations spread across Nigeria, and committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights.
“NOPRIN wishes to observe that the suspects paraded days ago in the Offa robbery incident did not include the alleged chief armourer, a dismissed policeman called Adikwu,” it said in a statement on Friday.
“The key suspect who was interviewed by the press said the Adikwu provided the weapons for the operation but he was not paraded. Similarly, Ayo Opadokun's son, Kayode, who was arrested, was not also paraded.
“There are emerging fears about the safety of these suspects who were not paraded. NOPRIN calls on the police to ensure the safety of the Adikwu and Kayode. They should be produced alive to have their day in court, to corroborate or rebut the police narrative that it was Senate President Saraki who provided the weapons.
“NOPRIN hereby calls on the police to publicly confirm the condition of these suspects. The police should produce the two suspects in order to douse the suspicion that they have been eliminated to cover up and to put fear in the other suspects that they would similarly be eliminated if they don't cooperate by sticking with the police narrative that it was Saraki who supplied them the weapons.”
SaharaReporters attempted to reach Moshood for clarifications, but calls and a text message to his telephone were not replied.