A yet-to-be ascertained number of police personnel and passers-by were feared killed when suspected armed robbers invaded the Isanlu branch of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited in Kogi State on Thursday.
A source told our correspondent that the robbers, numbering about seven, came in two vehicles, broke into the bank and shot dead several persons.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, William Ayah, who confirmed the attack, said there were casualties, but the command had yet to ascertain the number.
He said the state Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba, had detailed his deputy, Akeem Yusuf, to liaise with the Divisional Police Officer in Isanlu to get details of the incident and report back to him within 24 hours.
It was gathered that about seven security personnel on duty at the bank and some passers-by were killed by the robbers, who were angered by their inability to gain access into the banking hall.
The gunmen were also said to have invaded the Divisional Police Headquarters, Isanlu, and killed some policemen on duty.
Escort Policemen Kill Man, Abandon Corpse, Van in Ekiti Hospital
Some policemen reported to be on an escort assignment, on Saturday, shot two persons in a hotel in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
PUNCH Metro gathered that one of the victims, who was hit by a bullet in the stomach, was pronounced dead in a hospital.
The second victim, who was hit in the leg, was said to have been admitted for treatment.
While a source said the incident happened when the policemen, numbering about five, attempted to give a retired senior officer compliment, another said the cops were in a joyous mood, chanting and shooting in the air when the two victims were hit by bullets.
A source said, “The policemen came into the hotel with one retired senior police officer. They were up to five in number. As they were gyrating inside the hotel, they shot in the air. Two persons were hit by bullets in the process. Two of the policemen took the victims from the hotel in their Hilux van to hospital.”
On realising that one of the victims had died, the policemen were alleged to have, on arrival at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, bolted, leaving the corpse, the injured man and the van.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident, said the policeman, who fired the shots, had been arrested and was being detained at the command headquarters in Ado Ekiti.
Abutu, however, said the cops were not from the state police command.
He said, “We have established that there was a shooting incident on Saturday night at one hotel in Ado Ekiti. Two persons were hit and one is died, while the second man is receiving treatment. The corpse of the deceased has been deposited in a morgue.
“The policeman who was responsible has been arrested and is now in our custody. We are not going to hide anything. Though those involved are not from our command, the incident is within our jurisdiction and we promise that whoever is found culpable will be prosecuted accordingly.
Boko Haram Ambushes Soldiers, Kills Six, Injures Many
An ambush on Nigerian troops by Boko Haram elements has left six soldiers dead, 26 injured and many others still missing, PREMIUM TIMES can report.
The ambush, according to military officials briefed on the matter, occurred at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday between Jagiran and Monguno, one of the hotspot of the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.
The terrorists also carted away a Toyota bullet-proof Land Cruiser SUV with desert camouflage colour, belonging to the acting commander of the 3rd Armoured Division.
Army authorities fear that the vehicle could be repainted with disguise in order to gain entry into military bases.
To that end, the army has also placed the Nigerian troops in the different locations on red alert, urging them to scuttle further escalation of trouble from the terrorists if they sniff any. The police have also been notified to look out for the SUV across the country, a military source said.
The police were urged to use tact should they spot an SUV approaching their location either with mounted with a gun or not.
A spokesman of the army, Sagir Musa, did not return calls and a text message sent to him Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, last week, the Nigerian Army flagged off a manhunt for the fourth batch of wanted Boko Haram terrorists, during which they co-opted more Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) members into the operation.
The Boko Haram war has had a huge impact on human and economic assets in Nigeria with millions of Nigerians displaced, thousands killed and trillions sunk into the war in the past decade.
Civic group, BudgIT, estimated that Nigeria has budgeted over N8.1 trillion on security since 2015.
This year alone, N1.78 trillion was earmarked for security, with N900 billion of that going to the ministry of defence and N75 billion for military operations.
Although the Nigerian government has maintained that it has technically defeated the Boko Haram, the spate of attacks by the terrorists persists despite some successes recorded by Nigerian troops.
Bandits Demand N100m for Six ASPs in Katsina Kidnappers’ Den
The bandits holding six Assistant Superintendents of Police captive in Katsina State for over one week are demanding N100m ransom for their release.
The PUNCH gathered that the ASPs were among the nine who were just promoted to their current rank. They were attached to the Mobile Police Squadron 6, Maiduguri, Borno State.
Findings on Wednesday indicated that they were demobilised from the riot unit and eight of them were on their way to the Zamfara State Police Command on transfer when they were ambushed in the Dogondaji area of Katsina State and taken into the forest.
A reliable police source explained that the nine ASPs were planning to go to Zamfara State together but one of them changed his mind at the last minute while the others embarked on the trip in a commercial bus.
On getting to Kano, the driver was said to have asked them to join another vehicle as his bus had developed a fault.
The source said, “When they were released to go to Zamfara, they scheduled a day for the trip from Maiduguri, but one of them said he wasn’t comfortable with the trip and declined to join them. He said he had something to do and promised to join them in Zamfara later.
“So, the eight others left, but on getting to Kano, the driver said he couldn’t continue the journey to Zamfara, because his vehicle had developed a fault. They joined another vehicle and on their way around Dongodaji in Katsina State, the bandits accosted and kidnapped them.
“While being taken away, two of them escaped and one of them was shot in the leg though he didn’t die. He found himself at a village and the villagers took him to a police station and he was taken to a hospital. The other six officers are still with the bandits who are demanding N100m ransom.”
A senior police officer said the Commander, Mopol 6, could not account for the men when asked about their abduction, adding that he referred inquiries on the missing men to the Zamfara State Police Command.
The officer explained that the normal procedure was for the commander to send a signal to the Zamfara command informing it that he had released the nine ASPs, but he allegedly failed to follow the official procedure.
The source stated, “The problem came from the Commander, Mopol 6, their former squadron leader, who released them on transfer to Zamfara. He was supposed to relay the information on the kidnap incident, but he said he didn’t know about it when he was asked; instead, he referred inquiries to the Zamfara State Police Command.
“The commander should have sent a signal that the men had been released to go to Zamfara, but he didn’t do that. Normally, the Zamfara command would send a signal to Borno confirming that the men had resumed.”
Findings indicated that the families of the missing police officers were anxious about the safety of their breadwinners following the N100m ransom demanded by the bandits.
It was learnt that the families were attempting to raise N3m for the release of the captives or N500,000 each.
The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, had yet to respond to inquiries on the incident as he did not respond to calls and SMS sent to his mobile telephone as of the time of filing in this report.
When contacted by one of our correspondents, one of the officers, who escaped from the abductors, said he was too weak to recount the incident.
“I have high BP (blood pressure); I just came back from a check-up. I cannot remember everything now. The incident happened on Sunday along the Katsina-Gusau Road,” he simply said.
The Public Relations Officer, Borno State Police Command, DSP Edet Okon, said there was no reported case of policemen from the command being abducted, adding that the alleged victims were no longer serving at the command because they had been transferred.
“The Borno State Police Command has not received any signal in respect of her officers being abducted. The alleged abduction of officers is still unknown to us as we have yet to receive any alert on the matter. That is the official position of the command as of this moment,” Okon stated.
When one of our correspondents visited the Mopol 6 base in Maiduguri, he observed that police personnel were overwhelmed by the kidnap of their colleagues, which came weeks after some of their men were killed and several others injured during an attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum.
The mood in the barracks was very sober with little or no activity going on except for a few anti-riot policemen in uniform clustered in groups obviously discussing the incident.
It was gathered that some personnel of the command were recently attacked at the Bama Local Government Area of the state and the latest development had dampened the morale of the policemen.
The PUNCH did not see women and children in the barracks except for a few at the market square.
Except for the command headquarters, where some cops were sighted sitting under trees and in other strategic locations, the entire barracks, which houses a police training college, state police command and Mopol 6 base, was scanty.