Offa robbery: Nigeria’s security system sick, say Reps
Written by Henry on April 13, 2018
Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday condemned the recent robbery attacks on commercial banks in Offa, Kwara State, saying the incidents were signs that the country’s security system was “sick.”
The lawmakers said the situation called for the overhauling of the security system.
The House, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, asked the police to investigate the attacks and ensure the prosecution of the suspects.
A member from Kwara State, Mr. Oluyonu Tokpe, had raised the robbery attacks as a matter of urgent public importance, urging the Federal Government to beef up security in the entire Southern Senatorial District in Kwara State.
Tokpe recalled how about 30 armed robbers invaded Offa in broad daylight, shooting at any targets on sight and raiding at least four commercial banks.
Tokpe said, “Mr. Speaker, they attacked police stations, killed the policemen; they shot at our people and proceeded to attack banks freely without response from any quarters.
“As we speak, all the banks in Kwara-South are shut down. You can imagine the implication on the economy and business of the state.
“If armed robbers can enter a town, drive in a convoy of about 10 vehicles, sack a police station and raid banks, it calls for an urgent enquiry.”
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, observed that the pattern of the attacks suggested that there might be something more to it.
“This was exactly the same way Boko Haram started and became a problem the country is battling till today”, he added.
A member from Kwara State, Mr. Ahman Pategi, told the House that from the eyewitnesses’ accounts, the robbers operated for more than one and a half hours.
“We need to check the entire security apparatus of our country. These people killed eight policemen and anyone they saw, they shot and killed the person. This is quite disturbing, to say the least.
“Yes, I am a member of the All Progressives Congress. One of the three things the party and Mr. President promised Nigerians in 2015 was security.
“Today, we are not achieving it and we must confront this reality and tackle the security issues all over the country.”
While supporting the motion, the Chairman, House Committee on Works, Mr. Toby Okechukwu, noted that the evidence of a sick security system was behind the growing calls for Nigerians to defend themselves.
He said, “Gen. T.Y. Danjuma has made this call; just days ago, the Governor of Benue State (Samuel Ortom) called for self-help; in Birnin Gwari, the emir has asked people to defend themselves; it is happening everywhere.
“In a country where people are calling for self-help, what it means is that the conventional or official security system is dysfunctional.
“When a state is unable to provide security, something must give way.
“The role of government is to find solutions to crises and insecurity. The role of government is not to find faults or resort to blame-game. If a government wants to continue to pass blame, then it must give way.”
The motion was passed in a unanimous voice vote.
Meanwhile, students and youths from Offa in the Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State on Thursday marched round some streets in Offa in a show of sympathy members of the bereaved families following the robbery attacks.
They marched to the Palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, the Offa Local Government secretariat, Olofa Road and Owode market.
The mourners included members of the Offa Awakening Movement, Offa Students Union, Offa Artisans and Ibolo Youths and Elders Forum.
They carried placards with inscriptions as ‘Peace for Offa,’ ‘Rest in peace,’ and “May we not experience such again.”
The leaders of the groups included the Chief Convener, Offa Youths Awakening Movement, Tayo Tijani; President, Offa Students Union, Mr. Abdulazeez Muyideen; a representative of the artisans, Abdulmajid Afolabi, and President, Ibolo Youths and Elders Movement, Abdulhamid Ibrahim.
Tijani said, “This idea came up due to the callous armed robbery attack that happened on April 5. We felt that we should engage in the commemoration and condolence walk. We visited some places like Olofa palace, the LG secretariat, and DPO station. We have erected a commemorative plague where we are going to put the names of the victims of the attack.
“One of our demands is for the FG to give us an army barracks in Offa because the population is so much and the economy is big enough to have such in the community. Another is that we have had several attacks similar to this in the same town and at the same location. We call for intelligence gathering. The government and the police should give us emergency phone numbers that people can use to help them in gathering intelligence.”
The Olofa while receiving the mourners said the federal and state governments had promised to enhance security in the community.