Po­lice Ar­rest 7 Sus­pects

Kwara An­nounces N 5m Bounty For In­for­ma­tion On Cul­prits

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

The po­lice in Kwara State have ar­rested seven peo­ple in con­nec­tion with last Thurs­day’s deadly armed rob­bery at­tack in Offa, Offa Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state.

This is as the com­mand in­sists that only 17 peo­ple were killed dur­ing the at­tack.

The com­mis­sioner of po­lice in the state, Lawan Ado, said this while brief­ing jour­nal­ists in Ilorin, the state cap­i­tal.

“Five banks and one mi­cro fi­nance house - Union Bank, EcoBank, Guar­anty Trust Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank and Ibolo Mi­cro­fi­nance Bank - were at­tacked.

“Seven sus­pects have been ar­rested, one at Igo­sun Road and six oth­ers at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in Offa. They are help­ing us in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Seven ve­hi­cles aban­doned by the armed rob­bers have also been re­cov­ered. How­ever, the num­ber of in­jured vic­tims is yet to be as­cer­tained as they are re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals,’’ Ado said.

The com­mis­sioner of po­lice also dis­closed that some ri­fles were carted away by the rob­bers. He said the In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice had or­dered a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent and di­rected his in­tel­li­gence re­sponse team and oth­ers to as­sist in ar­rest­ing the hood­lums.

Mean­while, Kwara State Gov­er­nor Ab­dul­fat­tah Ahmed has of­fered N5mil­lion to any­one who pro­vides a use­ful in­for­ma­tion that could lead to the ar­rest and prose­cu­tion of those in­volved in the rob­bery. He as­sured that ev­ery piece of in­for­ma­tion would be treated con­fi­den­tially.

In a state­ment by his se­nior spe­cial as­sis­tant on me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Dr. Muyideen Ako­rede, the gov­er­nor called on any­one with use­ful in­for­ma­tion on the in­ci­dent to con­tact the state po­lice com­mand on the fol­low­ing num­bers: 0803 739 1280 and 0803 702 4320.

“While we mourn our dead with a heart full of sad­ness, and care for the in­jured by pay­ing all their med­i­cal bills, we will do ev­ery­thing in our power to bring the at­tack­ers to jus­tice and en­sure that never again will any com­mu­nity or peo­ple in our state ex­pe­ri­ence such tragedy,’’ Gov­er­nor Ahmed said.

He said the po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies had be­gun a vig­or­ous man­hunt for the per­pe­tra­tors of the crime and pledged to sup­port them to ap­pre­hend and suc­cess­fully pros­e­cute those in­volved.

Mean­while, Se­na­tor Rafiu Ibrahim, who rep­re­sents the zone, has do­nated cash to some of the in­jured vic­tims who are still re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at var­i­ous hos­pi­tals in the state. He made the do­na­tion when he vis­ited the hos­pi­tals in the com­pany of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufu­tau Gbadamasi Esu­woye ll and other prom­i­nent Offa in­di­genes.

“We gave N250,000 and N100,000 re­spec­tively to vic­tims. We did that to sup­port them and aug­ment what­ever the state gov­ern­ment promised to do to as­sist them,’’ Se­na­tor Ibrahim said.

There have been con­flict­ing fig­ures over the num­ber of peo­ple killed dur­ing the rob­bery on Thurs­day last week.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­port, 17 peo­ple were killed - nine po­lice­men and eight civil­ians. But other re­ports say 30 peo­ple lost their lives.

A wit­ness who spoke to our cor­re­spon­dent said the ban­dits killed two other mo­bile po­lice­men in Okuku, Osun State, who they be­lieved were trail­ing them.

A med­i­cal doc­tor who spoke to our cor­re­spon­dent at the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Offa but did not want his name men­tioned, said 21 bod­ies were brought in around 6pm on Thurs­day. He added that nine pa­tients who could not be han­dled at the hos­pi­tal were re­ferred to the Ilorin Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

Also, a doc­tor in one of the pri­vate hos­pi­tals in Offa, Taiwo Jaiye­ola, said three vic­tims of the at­tack were brought to the hos­pi­tal dead while one per­son was still on ad­mis­sion.

A rel­a­tive of one of the vic­tims at the pri­vate hos­pi­tal, Ab­dul­rafiu Adekunle, said his rel­a­tive, who was shot on the neck, was re­cu­per­at­ing. He thanked God for sav­ing his life.

Speak­ing to Daily Trust on Sun­day, Sun­day So­ladoye, who do­nated blood in one of the hos­pi­tals, called on au­thor­i­ties to pro­vide ar­moured per­son­nel car­ri­ers in the com­mu­nity. He said this would help im­prove se­cu­rity, adding that rob­bery in­ci­dents in the com­mu­nity were in­creas­ing.

Our cor­re­spon­dent learnt that some peo­ple had buried their dead rel­a­tives while many were seen at the po­lice sta­tion try­ing to get po­lice re­ports be­fore bury­ing theirs.

The an­cient town of Offa in Offa Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Kwara State was on Thurs­day thrown into mourn­ing as dare­devil men of the un­der­world at­tacked banks, killed many peo­ple and carted away undis­closed sums of money.

Sev­eral armed ban­dits in­vaded the sec­ond largest town in Kwara State, blew up com­mer­cial banks with ex­plo­sives and opened vaults.

Ac­cord­ing to eye­wit­nesses, the rob­bers, who num­bered more than 20, came into the town in 7 to 8 ve­hi­cles and sacked the Offa divi­sional po­lice head­quar­ters, killing ev­ery liv­ing thing in the vicin­ity, in­clud­ing po­lice­men, com­plainants, sus­pects in cus­tody and an­i­mals. There­after, they pro­ceeded to the premises of Guar­anty Trust Bank (GTB), First Bank, Zenith Bank and oth­ers on the Olofa Road, where they car­ried out their activities un­chal­lenged.

Af­ter the oper­a­tion, which lasted for about an hour, the rob­bers fled Offa through Igo­sun com­mu­nity.

It was gath­ered that the ban­dits en­tered the town at about 4:45pm and op­er­ated till about 5:40pm, block­ing roads from both Ilorin and Osogbo ends. They came in dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cles and sta­tioned them­selves at strate­gic ar­eas of the town. It was re­ported that they also snatched com­mer­cial mo­tor­cy­cles and cars to help in their oper­a­tion and es­cape.

Our cor­re­spon­dent learnt that the rob­bers spent few min­utes in Igo­sun High School be­fore they fi­nally left.

Among the po­lice­men killed by the armed rob­bers who op­er­ated in com­mando style was a man iden­ti­fied as Pelemo, who was ex­pected to re­tire in a few months, and a preg­nant po­lice woman.

An eye­wit­ness said that corpses of six po­lice­men were taken away in his pres­ence while ef­forts were made to bring oth­ers out of the po­lice sta­tion.

It was learnt that the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Offa, where vic­tims were taken to, was al­ready over­pop­u­lated by those who sus­tained vary­ing de­grees of in­jury.

The po­lice public re­la­tions of­fi­cer in the state, Ajayi Okasanmi, who con­firmed the in­ci­dent said, “Nine of our men and seven civil­ians were killed while sev­eral other peo­ple were in­jured.

“We have also de­ployed more of our men to Offa while in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.’’

He said that de­tails on the bank rob­bery would be made af­ter a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Nar­rat­ing the in­ci­dent, a res­i­dent of Offa, who pre­ferred anony­mous said, “The rob­bers are youths. From the faces I saw, they are girls and boys be­tween 18 and 22 years of age,’’ he said.

It was learnt that one of the vic­tims of the in­ci­dent was a preg­nant busi­ness woman iden­ti­fied as Omilola Korede, who had gone to lodge a com­plaint over a trans­ac­tion in one of the af­fected banks. She re­port­edly went with her son.

Three other women who lost their lives in the at­tack have also been iden­ti­fied as Bunmi Me­san, Iya Muji and Mama the Big Club.

Offa has al­ways been a tar­get of at­tacks by the men of the un­der­world due to the heavy con­cen­tra­tion of com­mer­cial banks. It would be re­called that all the banks in the town have been ren­der­ing skele­tal ser­vices af­ter sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences in 2013.

At first, banks in the town started oper­at­ing be­tween 9am and 12pm af­ter the 2013 in­ci­dent but later ex­tended the time to 2pm af­ter the com­mu­nity as­sured them that there won’t be re­oc­cur­rence.

In 2013, res­i­dents of Omu Aran com­mu­nity were also thrown into a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion af­ter armed rob­bers at­tacked three banks, killing three per­sons and es­caped with an un­spec­i­fied amount of money.

Re­act­ing to the in­ci­dent, Gov­er­nor Ahmed said, “I am very sad­dened by the tragic events in Offa to­day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the fam­i­lies of those who died in the armed rob­bery at­tack. I am in con­stant touch with the se­cu­rity agen­cies in the state and have urged them to do all within their power to se­cure Offa and en­vi­rons and bring the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.

“I have also di­rected the depart­ment in charge of health ser­vices to rapidly treat those in­jured in the at­tack. My heart­felt con­do­lences go to the peo­ple of Offa and the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of to­day’s at­tack.”

Daily Trust on Sun­day learnt Thurs­day’s at­tack in the an­cient town was the third in five years.

Mem­bers of some vig­i­lante groups told our cor­re­spon­dent that the rob­bers could op­er­ate con­fi­dently be­cause their guns were mopped up and they could not face them with sticks.

Sons and daugh­ters of Offa are con­sult­ing to find a last­ing so­lu­tion to bank rob­beries in the town.

PHO­TOS: Romoke W. Ah­mad

The Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufu­tau Gbadamasi Esu­woye all speak­ing with an­other vic­tim of the Offa armed rob­bery at­tack at the Ilorin gen­eral hos­pi­tal.

Se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing Offa, Ire­po­dun and Ifelo­dun fed­eral con­stituency, Se­na­tor Rafiu Ibrahim and Pres­i­dent NURTW, Al­haji Na­jeem Yasin speak­ing with one of the in­jured at the Ilorin Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

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