A day after a gang of robbers have attacked five banks and a police station, killing many people in Offa town, Kwara State, has remained in astonished. Yesterday, the Kwara State Police Command has confirmed that nine of their men were killed by the robbers.
In an update on the robbery attack, Mr. Ajayi Okansanmi, the spokesman for the command, has told reporters that seven other people have lost their lives during the robbery operation. There were unofficial accounts which stated that people that might have lost their lives might have risen to twenty-three, including two policemen that were shot by the robbers in Okuku, Osun State while returning from the robbery operation. In addition, the robbers have abandoned three vehicles.
Since the robbery incident, fury residents have summoned a quick review of the security structure for banks that are located in Kwara State.
Reacting to the gory event on his Facebook wall, Senate President Bukola Saraki called it a despicable act perpetrated by wicked individuals. He said that he and Governor Fatah Ahmed have come together that the bandits would be found and prosecuted by the law by all means.
An eyewitness who said he hid inside one of the banks during the robbery operation, was still in shock when he narrated his story yesterday. Pleading anonymity, he said:
“My brother, it is not something to recall or witness. I don’t even pray it for my enemies.
I saw death staring at me and others. I still can’t talk much about it.”
The Olofa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi, who is The paramount ruler of the town, was in short of words when they contacted him yesterday. He said that the severe killings that came with the robbery were too big. Offa community leaders spent a greater part of yesterday discussing the robbery incident that occurred and they decided to hold a larger meeting of Offa sons and daughters on Sunday, April 29.
Senate President Saraki said:
“Make no mistake, there will never be any valid grounds or rationale behind such violence that has left many families without their loved ones – and one more community in grief and shock.
Last night, I spoke to Governor Ahmed to express my condolence on the lives that were lost in the attack, and we both agree that no stone will be left unturned until the perpetrators of this heinous act are caught and brought to justice.
It is also important that we all work together to ensure that this does not reoccur. We all must co-operate at various levels to increase the security of our communities.
I pray that the souls of those that we lost yesterday are granted places amongst the righteous ones.
My prayers and support will continue to be extended to all the affected families, and we will remain relentless until everyone who planned or carried out this attack faces the full wrath of the law.”
Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, The Emir of Ilorin, has condemned the robbery, calling it barbaric, ungodly and disheartening. He has enjoined clerics across Kwara state to use yesterday’s Jumat service for special prayers for the nation, especially Kwara State.
While he was assessing the situation yesterday, a security expert, Mr. Banjo Famuyiwa, said that the low presence of police personnel in the town, even with its large population and number of banks, is quite alarming.
The Chief Executive Officer of PlaySafe Lifecare Foundation said:
“The number of policemen available to the community is low, given the population and number of banks.
The police post is also very close to the road. There are no strong barriers. Once you branch off the road, the next thing is the station.
In some countries, you allow banks to use their personal security, and I think we should do the same here instead of wasting the lives of our policemen again and again.
There should be no law forbidding banks from having their own security.”
An Ilorin-based group, ‘Kwara Rebirth Ambassadors’ demanded a review of the security structure of the state. It said:
“This latest bloody bank robbery in Offa town has left in its trail several salient questions begging for answers, and it won’t be out of place to demand for a complete overhaul of the security architecture of the state, as the armed bandits have severally proven the porosity and poor policing of our inter-state borders among other noticeable shortcomings.
A visit to Osun, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti and other sister states will see the strategic positioning of Armoured Personnel Career (APC) in and around the state.
That is a clear show of readiness to combat security challenges as it arises.
Armed bandits, violent cultist, touts and thugs have combined to hold the state to ransom in the last 10 days in Ilorin and Offa.”