The fate of Michael Adikwu, the dismissed police corporal who allegedly planned and led the Offa bank heist of April 5, 2018, has become a subject of speculation.
The robbery led to 33 fatalities, including pregnant women and 12 police officers.
Police initially described Adikwu as “sectional gang leader” when he was declared wanted in connection with the robbery, and was accused of killing 22 persons, mostly at the Offa police station.
He was later arrested after still pictures from CCTV were released to the public.
In a press statement at the weekend, Jimoh Moshood, an assistant commissioner of police and force public relations officer, conspicuously at No. 6 on the list of suspects was: Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs – Sectional Gang Leader, Killed Twenty Two (22) Persons, mostly at the Police Station.
However, It was noticed that when police gave an update on investigations on Sunday, Adikwu was not among the paraded suspects.
Instead, Ayodele Akinnibosun aka AY — who described himself as political thug of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state — spoke on behalf of the suspects.
Asked by journalists where they got their weapons from, AY replied: “It was through this… one retired police officer, Michael (Adikwu)… he was the one that comes with ammunition.”
There were rumours that Adikwu — who confessed to have killed several policemen as a revenge for his “unfair” dismissal — was shot dead in the presence of the other suspects in other to coerce confessions from them.
Things became more suspicious on Wednesday when Moshood addressed the press and Adikwu’s name was no longer on the list of suspects, further fuelling speculation that he might have been killed.
If he has been killed, Akinnibosun’s claim that he was the one that supplied them ammunition might become difficult to prove in court.
‘ADIKWU IS ALIVE’
Asked pointedly on Wednesday by TheCable if Adikwu had been killed in custody, Moshood dismissed the speculation.
He said Adikwu was still in police custody but refused to disclose where he is being held.
“Michael Adikwu is in police custody. You know he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. So the fire arms that were carted away, he is helping the police in investigation to recover them,” he said.
But why was he not paraded?
“Even the people we paraded last Sunday were 15 and they are 22 in number; some are in Ilorin, some are in other locations. There is a state in the south-west where they kept him… the police; that is where he is. I can’t mention the state. He is in one of the south-west states,” he said.
He added that the suspect’s name was not in the police statement of Wednesday “because he was not one of those we paraded.”
“It (Adikwu’s name) is not in the statement today but it was in the other one; the last one we did on Sunday. Only five people that we brought today; only five people that their names were there. He is not among those people we paraded today (Wednesday).”
Reacting to reports that Adikwu was killed in custody, the police spokesman said “there is nothing like that”, and that the suspect will be paraded “soon.”
“Who killed him?” he asked, saying: “We will parade him soon, once they recover all the weapons.”
Adikwu, in an interview with Daily Trust Saturday published on June 2, had confessed to planning the heist and killing policemen, saying he was unfairly dismissed from the force.
WHO IS MICHAEL ADIKWU?
According to information earlier released by the police, “Micheal Adikwu, is a native of Apa LGA 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.”
He confirmed being dismissed in the interview with Daily Trust Saturday.
“I was formerly working with the Kwara State Police Command, Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). 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 was not a mistake, but quite deliberate. I see them as all the same.”
He said it took him about three weeks to plan the Offa heist.
Adikwu said as a resident, he knew Offa like the back of his hand.
Describing how he met other gang leaders, he said: “I got to know a good number of them while I was working in SARS. Initially, they were a little afraid, but I was able to sway their minds.
“After the meetings, we took a tour round the bank during which were able to identify the security points, which were very loose. The next step was getting enough guns and ammunition, so we put together guns belonging to various gangs.”
He said he suggested smoking bank security out of their post with tear gas.
“We arrived the bank very early on the day of the operation with each person manning his own area. We agreed that only five of us drawn from the various gangs will enter the banking hall,” he said.