Offa Robbery: A Wake Up Call
Nigeria News takes a look at the bank robbery that took place in Offa, Kwara State in which scores of people, including policemen were killed.
The 30-man-robbery-gang that raided five banks in Offa, Kwara State and killed about 33 people must have been hiding somewhere in the ancient town for sometime before they finally unleashed their terrors on the residents on Thursday.
Their mode of operation showed that they had mastered the terrain. They took their time to kill, steal and left without any challenge from the country’s security agents, the police especially.
Thursday’s robbery would be the second time the town would witness such wickedness. The banks’ staff, customers and the policemen were helpless. Six policemen and scores of civilians were sent to the early grave. Many residents were injured by stray bullets and expectedly, the robbers carted away millions of naira.
As the bereaved cried uncontrollably and the banks counted its losses, the Offa mayhem became another opportunity for the political class to make comments.
“This is cruel; Our condolences go to the families of the victims; the police must fish out the perpetrators,” these are the common statements that easily get into the pages of newspapers.
“We have sent out our men to pursue the robbers; we will arrest them, the police boasted. But did the police know that there were robbers in Offa before they struck? Let us even assume that the police lack the intelligence to know or perhaps they knew but pretended not to know; did they receive any distress call when the robbery was going on?
For hours that the robbery operation lasted, where were the police? The Oshogbo-Offa Road was blocked by the robbers and the police refused or failed to ask a question.
The Offa, Kwara State bank robbery is a wakeup call to Governor Abdul Fatah Ahmed of Kwara State. This is the time for him to wake to the reality instead of waiting for Federal Government intervention. Proactive security measures is never a waste of time and if this is not done now, there is a disaster waiting to happen.
It was learnt that a GT Bank branch in the town usually closes for the day about 2 pm. I was informed they had to do so for fear of armed robbers, who the bankers were expected to storm the town and raid financial houses.
For me, the Ogun State template should be adopted by Kwara Government. At least it has been working for some time now. Until Senator Ibikunle Amosun adopted the template, banks in the Ijebu part of Ogun State hardly open before 9 am. In Ijebu Igbo, banks did not operate for about 3 years. Till date, there is no bank operating in the whole of Ijebu East LG, more than 5 years after a vicious robbery. First Bank and Wema Bank moved out permanently. But, at least, we can still travel to Ijebu Ode for transactions.
The Police need armoured vehicles to confront the kind of bandits who visited Offa. The vigilante group in the town needs reorganization with quality support. Those of Ijebu Ode now have patrol vehicles. They back up the police regularly. Provision should be made for allowance for the police on patrols beyond whatever the FG is giving them.
Yes, so many roadblocks towards Ilorin. But not one of them has a single armoured vehicle. None of the policemen on the road had body armour. Their vehicles were either rickety ones or they had none at all. Communication gadgets are key in case they need to call for back up.
The FG did not fail the people of Offa. There is no salvation at that level as it has been shown repeatedly. It was the Kwara State Govt that failed its people. Ahmed should review his governance engine for a fresh proactive move in terms of security. These ones will be caught, no doubt. But can the lives terminated be returned?
May God comfort the loved ones of those who lost their lives.