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Yesterday was an awful day for indigenes and residents of Offa town in Kwara State after daredevil armed robberies attacked the police station killing policemen before storming banks in the town, killing people indiscriminately and carting away huge sums of money with little resistance from security forces.
As bad as the bank robbery was in Offa yesterday, the shocking thing is that a similar kind of robbery happened in Iwo, a town in neighbouring Osun state on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
The Daily Trust reported the robbery back then:
“Four policemen were killed by a gang of armed robbers that attacked some commercial banks in Iwo, Osun State on Tuesday while one of the armed robbers was killed by policemen.
“The heavily armed robbers invade Iwo and robbed three banks located opposite the campus of Bowen University and carted huge sum of money away.
“Eyewitnesses told Daily Trust that the armed robbers used explosives to break in to the banks during the robbery operation that lasted for about 50 minutes.
“It was gathered that before they robbed the banks, the armed robbers first attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters in the town and destroyed the Police Armoured Personnel Carrier vehicle.
“Two civilian and a staff of one of the banks sustained injury during the incident.
“Residents of Iwo described the incident as very pathetic and unfortunate.”
This is becoming a worrisome trend and the police has to find better ways of gathering intelligence with a SWOT analysis of each police station or post done to identify immediate and remote threats. Their weaknesses should be fixed, threats identified ahead of time and then properly addressed.
State governments also have to do more to help improve security in major towns not just state capitals. Banks are central to economic activity and a situation where they cannot provide services because of fear of armed robbers hampers economic growth. This is not the first time a major bank robbery is happening in Offa. As a result, it and adjoining towns are not enjoying the presence of as many banks as they would without such robberies. A similar robbery took place in 2013 with many lives lost.
The federal government has to do more to equip the police and other security agencies while the proliferation of arms in the country has to be addressed frontally. Current efforts in this regard have to be improved to make them more effective.
Of course, those behind these dastardly robberies should be apprehended and duly prosecuted in court to serve as some measure of deterrent to others. This negative trend should not be added to the plethora of security issues facing the country.