Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, December 8, dismissed claims that he was the owner of the N310m said to have been stolen during a robbery operation involving some military and State Security Service (SSS) officials. In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said the stolen money did not belong to him and that he did not know the owner, who is said to be a Bureau De Change operator.
"The Senate President was in Paris attending the Globe COP 21 Conference for Legislators on the Climate Change when we read the Sahara Reporters version of the report on a statement issued by the spokesperson of the SSS. The initial reaction of the Senate President when his attention was drawn to the SaharaReporters story in Paris was that the owners and their sponsors of the online medium simply wanted to draw him into a needless controversy and therefore they should be ignored. However, on his return to Abuja Monday night when many of his friends and well wishers expressed concern over his silence on the report, it became necessary for him to make clarification on it. "We want to say categorically that Dr. Saraki is not the owner of the stolen money. He does not know the owner who is said to be a Bureau de change operator. The Police that investigated the robbery incident and the SSS, which issued a statement on it, can confirm that there is no link between the Senate President with the ownership of the money. "Unfortunately, two of the suspects in the case are said to be part of the men attached to the security team of the Senate President. As anybody could confirm, the SSS selects its officers who are attached to top officials. In most cases, the principal does not select who work in his security team. In fact, the first time the Senate President heard about the incident was when the Commissioner of Police, Abuja, requested the Aide-in-Camp to get his permission for the SSS agents to report to his office in connection with an on-going investigation on a robbery incident. "To further put a lie to the claims by SaharaReporters, Dr. Saraki hereby requests that the security agencies involved in the investigation should make further public clarification on the case so as to enlighten members of the public. The Senate President just like any interested Nigerian followed the police investigation as it progresses, believing that justice will be done at the end of the day. "The report by SaharaReporters is another case of manipulation and distortion of facts and situations to achieve some sinister purposes. This online medium is, with every false reports it publishes against the person and office of the Senate President discrediting itself and making it clear that it is not worth believing by reasonable members of the public," the statement added