Dominic Adewole ASABA
Dare-devil armed robbers yesterday hijacked a bullion van on Asaba-Benin Expressway, killed a police escort and stole the money said to be about N25 million.
The attack occurred between Otulu and Ubulu-Okiti in Delta State.
Police have arrested the cash management officer of Asaba Branch of the bank, the chief security officer and two drivers because of the attack.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Andrew Aniamaka, who confirmed their arrest, said it followed preliminary investigation which revealed that, in a bid to cut corners, the bank officials illegally picked seven police officers from different locations, yet to be determined, and engaged them on an illegal escort for the conveyance of the money from bank’s branch at Agbor to Asaba, without using a serviceable, secure armoured bullion van as required by law.
He said: “Needless to state that when the bank officials earlier approached the Operations Department of the command for escort men, their request was turned down on the grounds that the bank does not have a serviceable bullion van needed for such operations.
“Sadly, during the attack, one of the police escorts was fatally injured by the armed robbers who also emptied the N25,000,000 into their cars – a Honda Pilot ‘jeep’ and Toyota Corolla, registration numbers unknown, and escaped.”
The attackers, numbering six, it was learnt, ambushed the unserviceable bullion van, opened fire on the security escorts before killing one of them during an ensuing shootout.
They armed robbers overwhelmed the remaining six surviving police escorts.
The PPRO warned that, henceforth, banks requiring police escort must adhere to laid down regulations on specie escort, especially during the ember-months.
Aniamaka reassured members of the public that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that the fleeing armed robbers were apprehended and brought to book.
However, there is apprehension among residents of Otulu and Ubulu-Okiti communities over the attack.