Edo banks robbery lasted more than two hours, it was like war zone –Uromi monarch – Punch Newspapers

•N34.5m, vehicles recovered

The Ojuromi of Uromi, Anslem Odaloighe Eidenojie II, on Friday condemned the attack on four commercial banks by suspected armed robbers in Uromi town, in the Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Eidenojie described the attack as one similar to a war zone as the gunmen not only took control of the area but also killed innocent citizens.

“The situation was like a war zone and it lasted for over two hours and the robbers took control of the area and killed my subjects,” the monarch said when he received a delegation of the state government, including the State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, at his palace during an on-the-spot assessment of the scene of the robbery incident.

At least five persons, including policemen, were reportedly killed on Thursday when a gang of armed robbers launched a fierce attack on five commercial banks along Market Road in the area.

The suspected armed robbers were also said to have carted away huge sums of money from the affected banks.

However, speaking during his visit on Friday, Obaseki, on Friday, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Philip Shaibu, vowed that the robbers would be arrested and prosecuted.

He appealed to the people of Uromi to go about their normal businesses as the state government had increased security and surveillance to ensure that peace was restored in the area.

“This attack is a well-organised crime. We have heard from the people and have increased surveillance in the area. We are here on behalf of the governor to find out what happened and know the extent of the damage. We are here on a fact-finding mission and have interacted with bank officials, eyewitnesses, traders, and people living in the area and seen the level of destruction and damage done.

“We reassure our people of improved security in the area and guarantee their safety. In the next week, people of this area will see government action on the matter. By the grace of God, these people will be arrested and brought to book,” Obaseki, visited the hospital where the injured victims were being treated, added.

 On his part, the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, attributed the ease with which the armed robbers raided the banks and killed people, including two policemen, to lack of intelligence by security agencies and the porous nature of the town.

While speaking on national television on Friday, which was monitored in Benin, Onobun said, “With what I saw, you could see that the security was overwhelmed. It’s quite unfortunate that such an incident could be carried out without any formal intelligence to the various security agencies because I don’t think that such an action was planned overnight. These criminals had various vehicles and sophisticated weapons.

“The area is quite porous; it has a boundary with Delta State and there are some other routes to some riverine areas, especially Illushi where you have the River Niger.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Police Command on Friday said the sum of N34.5m and four of the vehicles used in the bank robbery.

In a statement on Friday, the spokesperson of the Command, SP Bello Kontongs, disclosed that motorcycles, bags containing woman items and one Union Bank ATM card were also recovered.

The statement read in part, “Today (Friday) at about 07:30, operatives of the Edo State Police Command, in conjunction with local vigilantes accompanied by Chief John Odijie, the Oniha of Ubiaja, led by the DPO Ubiaja acting on credible information that some vehicles suspected to have been used by armed robbers in the Uromi bank robbery operations on Thursday were seen hidden in Oruen Quaters bush of Ubiaja in the Esan South-East Local Government Area of Edo State.

“Recovered are a red Camry car with registration number, EZA 105 KJA; an ash Camry Car with registration number, KWL 19 DU; ash Corolla car with registration number, UBJ 734 SZ; a Lexus 330 car with registration number, AAA 973 FL, and two motorcycles. Two small bags containing women’s items, one Union Bank ATM (card) and N34,510,000 were also recovered.”

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