• Police arrest 12 suspects
By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Fresh facts emerged in Ilorin at the weekend on how the armed robbers who raided five banks in Offa, Kwara State, succeeded in their operations without any resistance from the security agencies in the town.
During the attack, 17 persons including nine policemen were killed, while about 10 persons sustained injuries and are now recuperating at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and Ilorin General Hospital.
About 20 people have so far been arrested by the police in connection with the attack.
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has transferred the state police commissioner, Mr. Lawan Ado, to the Police College, Kaduna while a new police commissioner, Mr. Pai Saleh, has assumed duty at the weekend in Ilorin.
Prior to the attack by the armed robbers, it was gathered that the proprietor of the hotel where the bandits lodged a day before they carried out the attack was said to have informed the Divisional Police Station in the town over the alleged discoveries of some incriminating materials on the bandits while taking their stocks before they were checked into his hotel.
Upon informing the Divisional Police Station, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) were said to have immediately ordered some men of the station to the hotel to verify the authenticity of the claims of the proprietor.
Sources said when the policemen got to the hotel, the men of the police station in Offa were said to have negotiated with the bandits instead of arresting them.
After the negotiation, the bandits allegedly offered the officers N400,000 and then left the hotel for the police station.
However, when the policemen returned to the station, it was learnt that they informed the DPO and DCO that the bandits were merely “yahoo boys” and not armed robbers as allegedly claimed by the owner of the hotel.
It was also gathered that on the second day the bandits struck, they first visited the police station in the town where they killed about nine policemen in anger and retaliation for allegedly collecting the sum of N400,000 from them when they came to the hotel to interrogate them.
It was further gathered that the bandits were said to have taken the decision to kill the policemen during the attack with the notion that if they didn’t kill them, they might recognise them during their operation and this might spell doom for them at the end.
Although the police had arraigned the proprietor of the hotel before a Magistrate Court in Ilorin last week for alleged conspiracy in the attack but sources close to the town told journalists that the proprietor was said to have earlier challenged the DPO and DCO in Offa if he did not inform them about the bandits when they lodged in his hotel a day preceeding the attacked five banks in the town.
The police who arraigned them said the offences contravened sections 97 and 167 of the Penal Code Law.
Meanwhile, 12 suspects are being currently interrogated by the state police command in Ilorin by the Special Anti-Robbery squad from the office of IG over the robbery.
THISDAY checks revealed that after the robbery operation, the suspects took away the handsets of the victims,which they later gave to their various girl friends.
The officials of the banks were also said to have packed all other handsets they found within their premises after the robbery incident and gave them to the police with which they worked with.
Sources close to the police headquarters in Ilorin yesterday said the police were said to have used sophisticated phone tracking device to trace those phones,which eventually led them to arrest the suspects.