Five of the suspects involved in the robbery of several banks in Offa, Kwara State on April 5, this year, have pleaded not guilty to all the charges levied against them.
Recall that the suspects were arraigned at the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, on 5-count charges of conspiracy, robbery, illegal possession of two AK- 47 firearms and culpable homicide.
However, on Friday, the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Their lawyer, Mathias Abaribe had asked that he be given a week to enable him meet with his clients and prepare for their defence, but the prosecutor raised objections to the request.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Halimah Salma has, however, adjourned the case till January 7, 2019, for the commencement of definite trial.
The Channels reports that this development is coming days after the Police confirmed the death of one of the principal suspects in the case, Michael Adikwu.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Kamaldeen Ajibade, had told the court that the police informed him that Adikwu had died in custody.
Shortly after, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki asked the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into the ‘how and when’ the suspect died.
The Police, however, stated that the death would not vindicate Mr Saraki who had been indicted in the case after the suspects claimed that the group was sponsored by him.
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They had alleged that he gave them “firearms, money and vehicles”.
The state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, was also indicted.
But Saraki maintained that the disclosure by the police vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in their custody and that the case was politically motivated to implicate him, Governor Abdul-Fatai Ahmed and a few others.
On its part, the police insisted that the arrest of the robbery suspects was not politically motivated but was purely a criminal case.