KWARA State Police command says the robbers, who attacked banks and police station in Offa town last Thursday, carted away some rifles, disclosing that it has arrested seven suspects in connection with the robbery.
The bandits, about 15, raided five banks, carted away undisclosed sums of money and killed policemen and civilians.
The state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Ado, stated this while briefing newsmen in Ilorin, on Saturday.
IGP deploys crack team
The police boss, who disclosed that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had deployed intelligence response unit to the state, added that the unit had swung into action on the robbery attack which reportedly claimed 17 lives.The CP, who confirmed that 17 people were feared dead during the attack, explained that nine policemen were killed during the attack.
He said that nine policemen lost their lives while others killed were civilians, adding that seven vehicles were recovered at Igosun where they were abandoned when the armed bandits ran into the bush to escape.
Ado, who assured residents of Offa community of adequate security of lives and property, said perpetrators of the robbery attack would be brought to book.
Gov places N5m bounty on robbers
Meanwhile, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has offered N5 million to anyone who provides useful information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the robbery.
Governor Ahmed, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede, 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 does any community or people in our state experience such tragedy,” the governor said.
Stressing the urgent need to ensure justice was done, Ahmed assured informants of anonymity, confidentiality and safety, promising that no harm would befall them on account of their assisting the security agencies to arrest the attackers.
He said the police and other security agencies in the country had begun a manhunt for the perpetrators of the attack and pledged to spare no effort in supporting the law enforcement agencies to apprehend and successfully prosecute the culprits.
Speaking at the palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Esuwoye, on Saturday, Ahmed said: “Those who perpetrated this evil have saddened and inflicted pain on us but they cannot break our spirit. I assure you that those behind this wicked act will be apprehended and brought to justice swiftly.
“As always, I stand with you in solidarity and support. I pray for the families of the departed and the injured and I salute the valiant police officers who fell on that day.
“In the next 45 days, we will build a new police station for Offa at a more strategic location.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency has issued a condolence message via its official twitter, @NGRPresident.
“We sympathise with the families of victims, residents of Offa and the government and people of Kwara State on Thursday’s violent robbery attack. Police have arrested a number of suspects and deployed extra personnel to the town to assist in investigations and beef up security,” the statement said.
Also reacting, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, called for improvement in the security architecture and infrastructure in the country to ensure adequate response to raging security challenges in parts of the country.
Speaking during a condolence visit to the Olofa of Offa, Saraki said the issue of security in the country required a radical and serious-minded approach.
“It is clear that we are not responding adequately to this. That is why we organised a security summit sometime ago to address the issue and to work closely with the executive and see how we can find solution to the security problems in the country.
“We on the legislative arm are ready to come up with the real design to improve on the security challenges, whether it is the human resources, equipment, whether it has to do with funding and legislation. There is also the issue of the actual structure of the police.
“Unless we address this, we will continue to have this kind of scenario where a bunch of criminals will hold a town for two hours and carry out this mayhem. There is no society that will really allow this kind of thing to happen,” he said.
On the question of inviting the military to assist police in crime fighting, the Senate President said “there is no society that delegates the responsibilities of the police to that of the military. Because it also has its own fallbacks; the number of the military is very thin.”
In his reaction, a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, described the attack as a tragedy.
In a statement by his media office, Atiku said: “my heart goes out to the family who lost loved ones.”
He said no resources should be spared to ensure that the robbers are brought to book quickly.
He added that the families of victims and casualties needed justice on the incident.
He said Nigerians must feel confidence in the country’s security operatives.
Also speaking, Oba Gbadamosi, expressed the need for state police.
“It will be better for the Federal Government to establish state police. With that they be closer to the people and to the state government. This is the fourth time that we will experience in the last 10 years.
“One of the major problems of the police force is inadequate manpower. We discover that in Offa Local Government Area the number of policemen is not up to 50. Anytime we have something like this there will be no reinforcement anywhere.
“So, what we need is manpower. The state government can afford to buy us armoured personnel carrier (APC), it can afford to build more police station but if the manpower is not there it is not enough,” he said.