Igarra Bank Robbery Intensifies Call For Community Policing | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Igarra Bank Robbery Intensifies Call For Community Policing

Posted: Nov 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Onoiribholo

Bureau Chief Benin
As no fewer  than six persons including two policemen and a private security guard  were killed on Tuesday evening when dared devil armed robbers invaded two banks in Igarra, headquarters of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, the call for community policing took the centre stage of discussions across the state on Thursday.
This is coming as members of the vigilance groups in Akoko-Edo local government area arrested two more suspected members of the robbery gang who participated in the deadly robbery attack in Igarra while  the vigilance groups also had a casualty as one of them was reportedly killed in action.
Reports had it that the two suspected robbers arrested on Thursday had gunshot wounds; one on the head and the other in his leg.
A leader of the vigilance group who spoke on condition of anonymity said members were mobilised from the Ojirami, Ojah axis when it was learnt the robbers have taken over Igarra and those in this areas immediately contacted their counterparts in Ososo, Makeke, Lampese and environs.
They were directed to barricade the Ekpedo-Ekpe axis of the road with tyres, stones, logs and other obstacles across 30 to 50 metres which slowed down their movement.
“We have to swing into action to give support  because they had already disorganised security in Igarra so we have to quickly call our members in Ojirami and Ojah who then called others because we suspected they will pass through that axis.
The robbers shot and deflated the vehicle of the DPO in which police was pursuing the hoodlums after police have killed one of them.
“We mounted barricade near Ekpedo to slow down their movements. We did that stines, tyres, logs and any hard object we could find. We mounted this barricades along almost 50 metres so it really slowed them down.
And that disorganised them and they have to escape into the bush with some guns and abandoned the others and the cash. The one that was caught on Tuesday night whistled apparently to contact any of his fellow who he felt may be in hiding, and a member of the vigilance group responded and that lured the suspect out.
The two that were arrested on Thursday in a forest near Makeke with gunshot wounds had wanted to disguise as farmers and come out of the forest but they could not because they could not change their clothing. We suspect they are from Okenne in Kogi state because they were speaking Igbira.”
He said all vigilance groups in neighbouring Kogi and Ondo states have been alerted and even military formations around have been alerted for more combing and possible arrests as he said he believed many of them would still be hiding in forests in that area.
The robbers were said to have stormed the town in two sienna buses around 6 pm in commando style by first taking over the police station where they killed two policemen and then the others went straight to the bank where they were said to have destroyed the entry to one of the banks using explosives.
During the operation, the suspected robbers killed a private security man in the bank and three other persons one said to be a commercial motor cycle rider while the others were said to be customers apparently in the bank premises to use ATM.
There are two banks in Igarra; Unity and Keystone  both situated opposite each other along Momodu Ajayi Road.
However, luck was said to have ran out on the robbers as vigilante groups quickly mobilised and barricaded their exit route along Ekpedo-Ekpe road near the council’s border with Kogi state where one of them was reportedly killed and another arrested and one of their vehicles impounded.
A leader of the vigilnate group in the area told Independent that “when they started the operation in Igarra, we quickly mobilised our people around the surrounding villages because they came through Lampese to Ososo and down to Igarra and they were also going back through the axis passing through Enwan and our men barricaded their rout and there was exchange of gunfire.
One of them was killed; another was arrested while many escaped with gunshot wounds. They also impounded one of the vehicles they used.
Meanwhile the lawmaker representing Akoko-Edo constituency 11, Emma Agbaje has condemned the incident.
A statement he issued on Thursday through his Personal Assistant, Eyonivi Asaham, condoled with the families of the dead and the injured even as he commended security agencies for their quick and timely response. “No degree of joblessness is worth taking the life of anybody”
However, the lines of the new Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Stanley Osifo could not be reached while the receiver in a call to the commissioner of police, Chris Ezike referred reporters to the office of the PPRO.
As at the time of this report, the entire Igarra community was on a mournful mood even as a community leader who spoke on anonymity complained of the porous security situation in the community.
“All the entry points to Igarra from all flanks are open, we need more security in this place, we have been abandoned to our fate.”