April 14, 2024

We counted 50 dead bodies after banks’ raid – Offa vigilance group

The Operations Commander, Vigilance Group of Nigeria, Offa, Kwara State chapter, Wasiu Adepoju, on Saturday, said vigilantes in the state counted about 50 dead bodies after armed robbers attacked and robbed five commercial and one microfinance banks in Offa on Thursday.

The state Commissioner of police, Mr. Lawan Ado, however, said 17 people, comprising nine police officers and eight civilians, died in the attacks.

Armed robbers had, on Thursday, robbed five banks. The banks included Union Bank, Ecobank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank and Ibolo Micro Finance Bank.

Adepoju in an interview with our correspondent said the robbers took the local security personnel by surprise. He stated that there was little they could do when they learnt of the robbery because of the sophisticated weapons the robbers came with.

He said, “After the robbery, we counted about 50 dead policemen and civilians. They shattered the bodies with bullets. They targeted mainly the heads of their victims.”

He stated that the bandits stormed the area and started shooting indiscriminately with heavy guns, adding that they ran to inform the police as they did not have any ammunition to defend themselves or to confront the robbers.

He said before they could reach the police station, the bandits had already invaded it and killed several people including policemen.

The vigilance group boss said it would be impossible for the robbers to operate and go unchallenged if the vigilantes were armed, appealing to the state and federal governments to arm them.

He further appealed to wealthy indigenes of Offa to help them, saying they were only rendering voluntary work to the community.

Adepoju said, “This is new to us. Bandits came to Offa some years ago. After that, all security operatives, including vigilantes, started to monitor the town from morning till night. They came twice at a time but it was not possible for them to operate.

It’s the fourth robbery in 10 years — Olofa

The Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi Esuwoye ll has called for the establishment of state police.

The monarch said, “It will be better for the Federal Government to establish state police. With that, they will be closer to the people and the state government. This is the fourth time that we will experience this kind of robbery attacks in the last 10 years. One of the major problems of the Force is inadequate manpower.

“We discovered that in the Offa Local Government Area, the number of policemen is not up to 50. Anytime there is a robbery, there will be no reinforcement. What we need is manpower. The state government can afford to buy armoured personnel carriers and it can build more police stations. But if the manpower is not there, it is not enough.

“What the Federal Government needs to do is to employ as many graduates looking for jobs into the Force, Army, Air Force and the Navy. There are lots of unemployed graduates ready to join these military and para-military forces. There is no security at all in the country.’’

The monarch, who noted that the community was involved in local policing, said robbers always caught the town unawares.

He said, “There is a risk attached to the use of local hunters. By the time we involve them in security because of a day like we just witnessed, the police will arrest them and say they are carrying Dane guns.”

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