By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The federal government yesterday vowed that all the people involved in the last Thursdayâ€™s armed robbery and killings in the commercial town of Offa, Kwara State, would be arrested and brought to justice in order to serve as deterrent to others.
Already, the state police command has arrested seven suspects in connection with the attack where 17 people, includingÂ nine police officers, were killed while the over two hours robbery on five commercial banks and one micro finance bank lasted.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the assurance when he paid a condolence visit to the Kwara State Governor, Alhai Abdulfatha Ahmed, at the Government House in Ilorin, also visited the people of Offa, where he told the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, in his palace and the state police command that the federal government would continue to improve on its security provisions that would ensure adequate safety for all and sundry.Â
The minister, also from the state, who expressed the condolence ofÂ the federal government during theÂ visits, said the entire country was â€˜â€˜shocked and grieving by the dastardly acts committed in Offa.â€
He was however quick to add that the state and the public must learnÂ from â€˜â€˜the mistakesâ€™â€™Â of the incident with a viewÂ to improving on security of the country.
The minister said: â€˜â€˜What happened in Offa on Thursday shocked the country, and itâ€™s our prayersÂ that the souls of all the victims will rest in peace and also that those badly injured would recover very soon.
â€˜â€˜I want to take this opportunity to also let you know that the country is grieving and sympathising with Kwara State andÂ the people of Offa .
Â â€˜â€˜But there is also a silver lining despite the losses of the police officers. It is quite heart-warming to know that some of the suspects have been arrested.Â
â€˜â€˜I spoke yesterday with the Inspector General of Police (IG) and he assured me that all the people responsible for the dastardly act would be arrested and brought to justice.Â
â€˜â€˜I hope also that we are all going to learn from the mistakes both the larger public and everybody, and we are also going to factor this into the larger security architecture in a mannerÂ that we will ensure more secure and safe country.â€Â
Mohammed, while in Offa, urged the residents to be more security conscious now than ever, and report suspicious person among them to the appropriate security office.
Responding during the ministerâ€™s visit to him, the state governor thanked the â€˜â€˜presidency for its intervention so far.â€™â€™Â Â
He particularly expressed delight with the promise made by IG to deploy an armoured personnel carrier that will be stationed specifically in Offa to prevent future occurrence.Â
Ahmed described the level of the crime perpetrated as â€˜â€˜unexpected,â€™â€™ a situation which he said was an indication that the country was in a â€˜â€˜very challenging situation.â€™â€™
The governor said the government at this time must accept the fact that the country was going through challenging time and redoubled efforts towards improving on its security architecture, adding: â€˜â€˜This is not the time for blame game.â€™â€™
He advocated for effective community policing and improved synergy through effective communications particularly between the military and the police.
The governor stressed that effective collaborations among the security agencies would â€Žno doubt result in effective security for the people.
In Offa, the Olofa, Oba Gbadamosi, expressed concern that with the latest attacks on banks in the town, there is no bank operational in the entire Kwara South senatorial district.Â
The monarch, therefore, urged the federal government to provide two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), one in Offa and the other in Ajase-ipo, headquarters of Kwara South, in order to beef up adequate security in the area.
The Olofa also urged stakeholders to ensure that all needed supports are given to the banks in order to return to operations in Offa and in the Kwara South senatorial districtÂ because doing banking transactions in Ilorin from Offa and the affected areas would be a difficult task.
He also called for increase in the police officers posted to the state and indeed Offa, saying the bandits operated for over two hours unchecked, a development he said was very unfortunate.
The Oba, however, commended the efforts of the state governor who he said had approved the construction of a bigger police station in â€ŽOffa, while the only bigger one attacked in Owode area would now serve as an outpost station.