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Offa Bank Robbery: How Quarrelling Couple Were Killed At Police Station

By Juliana Francis, Biodun Oyeleye and Emmanuel Onani





Among victims of Thursday bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State were a man and his wife, who had gone to the police station to settle their quarrel. Sources in the community told our correspondent last night that one of the partners had gone to the police station to lodge a report against the other, despite pleas by neighbours for them to settle the quarrel amicably at home.

Although their identities were yet to be known, their story was a topic of discussion among residents of the town yesterday as more facts emerged about victims of the robberies. The couple was said to have been among the civilian victims the robbers killed when they invaded the police station.

Their story came up against the backdrop of questions being asked on the whereabouts of detainees at the station after the robbers struck. While some residents claimed that the robbers killed all of them and therefore increased the number of victims, state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ajayi Okasanmi, denied such insinuations, insisting there was no one in police detention as at the time of the incident.

He said: “There was no one in detention when the robbers struck; the only civilians they killed at the station were those who came to lodge complaint as earlier explained.” One other victim has also been identified as Jamiu Adekunle Alawode, Head of Operations, at Stockup Microfinance Bank, beside Zenith Bank in the town. He was killed inside the bank.

Alawode was said to have been in his early 40s. “He was a very hardworking person and honest. We are still mourning him. In fact we are still trying to pacify his wife,” Jamiu’s elder brother, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic, Offa, told our correspondent yesterday. He said that although the deceased had worked in other places before, it was at the microfinance bank that he had begun to get settled and accomplished.

The Fidau prayers for him were said yesterday at Ijagbo. Another victim, a female police inspector, was said to be the daughter of a retired police officer in the state. Meanwhile, the National President of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Ambassador Usman Sheikh-AbdulAzeez, yesterday led over 30 members of the National Executive Council of the union to Offa to commiserate with the Offa community over the robbery.
Sheikh-AbdulAzeez, a retired security expert, noted that the security operatives in the state lacked sophisticated equipment that could adequately carter for any security challenges. He, therefore, asked the Federal Government to provide more security gadgets and surveillance in Kwara State to curb cases of bank robbery and other vices. Sheikh-AbdulAzeez also appealed to the Federal Government to provide such gadgets, along with qualified manpower to curb cases of bank robbery and other security problems in the state.

The IEDPU president presented the union’s condolence letter to the Olofa of Offa.
Responding on behalf of Olofa of Offa, the National President of the Offa Descendants Union (ODU), Alhaji Najeem Usman-Yasin, thanked the IEDPU for the condolence visit.
Meanwhile, the police, yesterday disclosed that 20 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Thursday bank robberies in Offa, Kwara State and killings that occurred between Wednesday and Saturday, in Donga and Bali local government areas of Taraba State, leading to the death of many and carting away of huge sums of money in the two states.

The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, disclosed that he had dispatched high powered investigating teams to the two states. Idris added that seven AK47 rifles, four pistols, 30 ammunition and seven operational vehicles had been recovered in both states.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, said that the IG had ordered deployment of three Police Mobile Force units, high powered police investigation team, Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) with 10 crew members and anti-robbery equipment to Kwara State.

Idris also deployed three additional Police Mobile Force units to Taraba State to beef up security. The deployment, it was learnt, is to prevent further attacks, arrest perpetrators and carryout discreet investigation into the Offa bank robberies in Kwara State and the killings in Donga and Bali local government areas of Taraba State.

Moshood said: “The police have arrested eight principal suspects in connection with the Offa bank robberies and 12 suspects directly responsible for the recent killings in Donga and Bali local government areas of Taraba State. “The police have also recovered seven AK47 rifles, four locally-made revolver pistols and 30 rounds of AK47 ammunition, seven operational vehicles of the armed robbers in the two incidents.”

The FPRO added that the IG had placed commissioners of police and police personnel nationwide on redalert. He had also directed 24 hours intelligence gathering and crime prevention/police visibility patrol of crisis spots, flash points and other crime vulnerable scenes in their commands throughout the country.

Moshood noted that the deployments, which were already in the two states, would cover Offa Local Government Area and its environs and other vulnerable points in Kwara State.

The FPRO also said the deployment of the three Police Mobile Force (PMF), in addition to the five PMF units recently deployed to Taraba State, would cover Donga, Bali, Lau, Gassol, Karim Lamido local government areas and other flash points in the state. He said: “The police teams will carry out intelligence gathering, raids of identified criminal spots/ flashpoints, stop and search operations, visibility and confidence building patrols, arrest of perpetrators and further investigation into the incidents.

“The immediate intervention and preliminary investigation carried out by the high-powered Police Investigation Team deployed by the IG working in synergy with the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) in the two commands resulted in the arrest of eight principal suspects in connection with the Offa bank robberies and 12 suspects directly responsible for the recent killings in Donga and Bali local government areas of Taraba State.

“Also recovered were seven AK47 rifles, four locally-made revolver Pistols and 30 Rounds of AK47 ammunition, seven operational vehicles of the armed robbers and assailants in the two incidents.”

Moshood disclosed that in the attacks in Donga and Bali local government areas, 12 persons were arrested. The 12 have been identified as Ali Runo, Hassan Ruwo, Chindo Umoru, Yinusa Usman, Shittu Usman, Tervesee John and Terse Joseph. Others are Victor Madu, Theophilos Ajee, Hasama George, Tervise Boniface and Tijie Evarso.

The police said the 12 suspects were arrested for being part of those responsible for the killings of innocent people. “They have confessed and admitted to the various criminal roles they played in the commission of the crime and will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation,” Moshood added. He said that eight persons had also been arrested in the Offa incident, where nine policemen and eight others were killed.

The FPRO noted that the eight suspects were arrested in connection with the incident. Moshood, who didn’t disclosed the names of the suspects as he did in the Taraba State killings, added that the suspects had admitted to the various criminal roles they played in the bank robbery attacks and were also assisting police investigation into the incident.

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