Police absence: Robbers take over Benin-Auchi road, target bank customers | Dailytrust

Police absence: Robbers take over Benin-Auchi road, target bank customers

IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu
IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu

The absence of police personnel and other security operatives in critical areas including some highways in the country has made the citizens vulnerable to attacks, Daily Trust reports.

Reports by our correspondents revealed that sundry crimes including armed robbery and kidnapping were on the rise in some parts of the country following the near absence of security operatives especially the police.

Daily Trust recalled that many officers and men of the police have dumped their work in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests in many parts of the country. This was after hoodlums seized the vacuum and wreaked havoc on critical police infrastructure and other public and private structures.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, recently said that 22 police personnel were killed across the country during the #EndSARS protests.  A coalition of Muslims and Christians leaders in Nigeria under the aegis of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), yesterday, cautioned that everywhere had been “left porous as there is no police presence.”

The Co-chairmen of IDPF, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni and Bishop Sunday Onuoha, made the plea at a news conference in Abuja.

They called on relevant authorities to restore law and order by first engaging the police establishment for a dialogue.

Also, ministers from the South West called on the federal government to address the low morale that plagued the police force.

Benin-Auchi road endangered

Our correspondent in Edo State reports that the Benin-Auchi road is now a tough route as armed robbers constantly block the road taking possession of passengers and drivers’ belongings.

Governor Godwin Obaseki on Monday begged the police to return to their duty post in the interest of the people, pledging to rebuild the burnt stations in the state.

It was gathered that robbery on the road is now a daily occurrence as police were yet to return to their duty post in the state.

Before the #EndSARS protest, the police were visible in all flashpoints and other parts of the road leading to a reduction in the rate of criminality on the road.

A motorist, Isaac Aigbona, who spoke on the development, said the road was no longer safe for anyone.

“We are all afraid of using the road these days because we don’t know when the armed robbers will strike,” he said.

“And any time one goes to Auchi or Ekpoma from Benin and come back safely without armed robbery attack, you will have to thank God.”

He appealed to the police to come back to the road in the interest of the people, saying that the youths who attacked them at the height of the #EndSARS were miscreants who don’t know their value in the society.

A commuter, who gave his name as Abubakar said he ran into robbers during one of his trips and had to run into the bush and escaped by the whiskers.

He said the miscreants robbed those who could not escape around Obagie-Okhuo community for over three hours without any resistance.

Efforts to reach the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwanbuzor for comment were not successful as calls put across to his cell phone were not answered.

Bank customers targeted in Nasarawa

In Nasarawa in North Central part of the country, armed robbers now trail bank customers and snatch money from them as soon as they come out from banks especially in Lafia, the state capital.

Sunday John who is the Secretary of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and  Mathew Kuju, the Editor -in – Chief, Eggon News, a community tabloid were some of the victims.

John lost N250, 000 and Kuju was robbed of N800, 000 within a week.

“I was trailed from a bank along Jos road and robbed at the NUJ Press Centre. I parked, joined a meeting and when I went to pick the money, I discovered that the glass was broken and the money taken away,” John said.

“I was trailed from a new generation bank and robbed in my office in Bukan Sidi area of Lafia,” Kuju said.

He said he packed his car and went into the office to pick something but when he came out, he saw the armed robber with the money bag. “The robber ran and entered a waiting vehicle on the other side of the express road and left,” he said.

A businessman who withdrew N700, 000 from a first-generation bank was robbed along Doma road within the Lafia town.

A witness said that the syndicate drove passed their victim at high speed, blocked him and pointed guns at him, collected the money and drove off.

Police Spokesman, ASP Ranham Nansel confirmed the incidents and said the Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe had directed his deputy in charge of operations to convene a meeting next week with bank managers to find a lasting solution to the menace.

“The whole menace revolves around the absence of policemen on the roads,” said Manata Isa, a civil servant in the state.

“Armed robbers operate with impunity these days because they know ordinary citizens don’t have the means to tackle them. I am appealing to the police to return to their duty posts. We have learnt our lesson the hard way, we can’t afford to live in a lawless society,” she said.

In Kaduna, a pregnant woman was killed by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Tuesday evening at her residence in Rigachikun of Igabi Local Government Area.

The source said the wife was killed by the kidnappers when security operatives engaged them in a gun battle in an attempt to rescue the victim.

The woman, our correspondent further gathered, was about to give birth before the ugly incident.

Kaduna Command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Muhammad Jalige was yet to respond to inquiries on the incident. Elsewhere in Rivers, gunmen killed a commander of a local vigilante group, Khana Security Planning and Advisory Committee in front of the Bori main motor park on Tuesday night.

A member of the vigilante group said the assailants accosted Saro on his way to board a vehicle to Port Harcourt.

The spokesman for the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni confirmed the incident and said the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, had directed an investigation.

In Abuja, gunmen on Wednesday abducted a woman named Grace Ameh at Gwagwa area.

It was learnt that the attackers had shot the captive’s husband before abducting her.

The spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, Mariam Yusuf, confirmed the incident.

“There are efforts to rescue the victim and apprehend the perpetrators,” she said.

Daily Trust reports that parts of Abuja and Kaduna had witnessed many kidnap cases before the onset of the #EndSARS protests.

Police presence eludes Lagos

Despite the call by IGP Adamu urging policemen to go back to their duty post, police presence is still not felt around the Lagos State metropolis in the South West.

The IGP who was on a working visit to Lagos on Tuesday insisted that the civilian population still appreciates the works of the police. Police personnel had abandoned their duty post since after the attacks on them and their stations by urchins.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, at a press conference said six policemen were killed while about 38 others sustained injuries.

Their absence had seen members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and those of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) taking over the control of traffic at major areas in the metropolis.

Our correspondent reliably learnt that the absence of policemen from the road had created pockets of crime in some areas.

Suspected rival secret cult gang, Eiye and Aiye Confraternity on Tuesday, took advantage of the absence of police personnel and engaged themselves in a bloody shootout at Owode area of Ikorodu.

The fracas caused heightened tension in the area as residents who were on their way home from work were trapped.

The bloody cult war at Ikorodu had been on for about two weeks with each group recording casualties.

Aside, hoodlums also hide under the cover of darkness to attack people in traffic in crime-prone areas such as Mile 2, Okokomaiko, Iyana-Oba, Oshodi, Abule-Egba, Ijora and Ajegunle.

Our correspondent also learnt that under the bridge at Mile 2, Iyana-Ipaja, Agege, the gang employed various tactics to dispossess people of their belongings.

But the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the command had adopted convoy patrol to prevent any robbery incident.

He said the state police commissioner also encouraged area commanders and their respective Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to adopt the same system in their respective areas of responsibility.

‘We can’t afford to live without police’

At a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the Muslim and Christian group under the auspices of IDPF pleaded with the authorities to ensure that police officers and men return to work to forestall continued break down of law and order.

“I don’t want to believe that the police are on strike or demonstrating,” Sanni, one of the conveners, said.

“How can we live as a country and our communities remain so porous? In many places, there is no presence of the police. Everywhere has been left porous. We want to appeal to our police to please come back to work.

“It is a family affair; we have bruised one another and it is time to forgive one another and find a way of addressing problems before it comes up,” Sanni said.

Sanni added that the regulation of social media in Nigeria was not a bad idea, saying the platform had been misused to malign people.

‘Improve police welfare’

Ministers from the South West yesterday urged the federal government to restore confidence in the police, boost their morale and improve their welfare.

They also urged the government to undertake a thorough investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza incident particularly the role of the military.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos), briefed State House reporters after the 22nd virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Fashola spoke on behalf of his colleagues from the South West including Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo from Ekiti; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite from Ogun; Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare from Oyo; Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura from Ondo; and Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Mamora from Lagos.

President Buhari had ordered the ministers to go back to their various states and confer with their constituents to douse the tension across the country during the FEC meeting held on October 21.

Last week, the president gave the 43 ministers one week ultimatum to submit reports of engagements with stakeholders in their various states over the ensuing crisis that marred the #EndSARS protests across the country, following his discovery that only two ministers had their reports ready as of last week’s meeting of the federal cabinet.

“We recommended that the federal government re-mobilise critical organs and agencies such as National Orientation Agency and formal educational institutions to focus on ethical re-orientation, inculcation of family values into the school curriculum. We recommended a focus on etiquette, local reasoning, critical thinking, solution-seeking, empathy, self-respect, civic duty and human rights,” he said.

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