The Federal Government has assured the citizens that those behind Thursday’s armed robbery attack and killings in Offa, Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State will be arrested and prosecuted.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed gave the assurance yesterday when he visited the Kwara State Governor Abdulfathah Ahmed at the Government House, Ilorin.
This came as the Inspector General (IG) Ibrahim Idris directed state commands across the country to be on red alert.
The directive was sequel to the attacks in Offa as well as the killings at Donga and Bali Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Taraba State.
Mohammed said the entire nation was “shocked and grieved” by the dastardly acts during which 17 persons, including nine policemen, were killed.
The minister later visited Offa to commiserate with Olofa of Offa Oba Muftau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II and his people over the unfortunate incident.
He also visited the headquarters of the state police command in Ilorin to commiserate with the Police Commissioner, Lawan Ado, over the death of the nine policemen.
He was also at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), where he sympathised with the victims of the armed robbery attacks, who were on admission.
The minister said the state and the public must learn from “the mistakes” from the incident with a view to improving on the country’s security architecture.
“What happened in Offa on Thursday shocked the entire nation and is our prayers that the souls of all the victims will rest in peace and also that those badly injured would be heeled and recover very soon.
“I want to take this opportunity to also let you know that the entire country is grieving and the entire country is sympathising with Kwara State and the entire people of Offa.
“But there is also a silver light, despite the losses of the police, it is quite heart-warming to know that some of the suspects have been arrested.
“I spoke yesterday with the IG and he assured me that all the people responsible for the dastardly act would be arrested and brought to justice.
“I hope also that we are all going to learn from the mistakes – both the larger public and everybody – and we are going to factor this into the larger security architecture in a manner that we will have a much more secured and safe states and country,” he said.
Ahmed thanked the “presidency for its intervention so far”.
He expressed delight with the promise made the IG to deploy an armoured personnel carrier (APC) that will be stationed in Offa to prevent future occurrence.
He described the level of the crime perpetrated as “unexpected”, a situation which he said was an indication that the country was in a “challenging situation”.
The governor said government at this time must accept the fact that the nation was going through challenging time and redoubled efforts towards improving on its security architecture, saying: “This is not the time for blame game”.
He advocated for effective community policing and improved synergy through effective communications, particularly between the military and the police.
At the palace of Olofa of Offa, the monarch thanked the minister for the visit and solidarity with his people.
He asked the minister to use his good offices in ensuring the deployment of two armoured personnel carriers to Kwara south to beef up security in the area.
According to a statement by police spokesman Jimoh Moshood, an Assistant Commissioner (ACP), Idris also ordered the deployment of three Police Mobile Force Units, high powered police investigation team, Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) with 10 crew members and anti-robbery equipment to Kwara State and three additional Police Mobile Force (PMF) units to Kwara and Taraba states to beef up security, prevent further attacks and arrest culprits.
It was learnt that eight principal suspects have been arrested in connection with the bank robbery and 12 others said to have direct involvement in the Taraba killings were also apprehended.
Moshood said seven AK47 rifles, four locally made revolver pistols, 30 rounds of AK47 ammunition and seven armed robbers’ operational vehicles were recovered in the two incidents.
He said: “The deployments, which have arrived the two states, will cover Offa LGA and its environs and other vulnerable points in Kwara State, while the deployment of the three in addition to the five recently deployed to Taraba State will cover Donga, Bali, Lau, Gassol, Karim Lamido LGAs and other flash points in the state.
“The police teams will carry out intelligence gathering, raid identified criminal spots/flashpoints, stop and search operations, visibility and confidence-building patrols, arrest of perpetrators and further investigation into the incidents.
“The immediate intervention and preliminary investigation carried out by the high-powered police investigation team deployed by the IG working in synergy with the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) in the two commands resulted in the arrest of eight principal suspects in the Offa Bank Robbery and 12 suspects directly responsible for the recent killings in Donga and Bali LGAs of Taraba State.”