…police arrest 20, recover seven AK47 rifles in Kwara, Taraba killings

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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