Suspected armed robbers who attacked banks, police stations in Osun State were said to have aimed their target at a bullion van taking cash to the banks. TOS News gathered that branches of First Bank and Access bank in Apomu and Ikire areas of Osun State were attacked on Wednesday evening, alongside police stations, with at least seven people shot dead.
According to reports, the robbers missed their target as they had already been prevented before the bullion van bringing money arrived in the town. In the words of an eyewitness in the town, the robbers went through Ikoyi town and attacked the Armored Personnel Carrier stationed at the entrance of the town as they shot dead a police officer.
The robbers also attacked police divisional headquarters in Ikire, where a police inspector and two community police officers were killed. The robbers were also said to have entered into the cells and freed those in detention.
Another eyewitness who was at the police station when the robbers attacked added that immediately they alighted, the robbers shot dead a police inspector said to be carrying arms, and a constabulary that had just completed his duty. Another constabulary that just resumed duty was shot dead on the premises of the division, as the robbers progressed into the station.
At Apomu, the robbers were prevented from gaining entrance into the bank, as members of the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) mounted resistance. During the shootout, three people were reportedly shot dead while a member of the OPC, Kazeem Adeleke sustained injuries.
According to the erstwhile Chairman of the Irewole Local Government Area in Osun, Remi Abbas, it took combined efforts of youths and local security outfits to contain the situation.
He said, “Around 6.30pm, we began to hear gunshots and blasts of dynamite simultaneously at four strategic places: First Bank and the Divisional Police Headquarters, Ikire; Access Bank, Apomu; and the Armored Personnel Carrier spot at Ikoyi.
“Initially, we thought it was a minor robbery, but when I called the DPO, he told me that the station was under attack. Almost about the same time, I was told the palace was also under attack.
“The Akire called that the palace and First Bank were under attack. There and then, we began to mobilize local hunters, members of the Oodua People’s Congress, Agbekoya and vigilante groups to defend the community.
“As of today, eight people have been confirmed dead three regular policemen, two special constabularies and three civilians. The dare-devil armed robbers were very strategic and with the way they operated, they had enough intelligence.”
However, in a statement made by the spokesperson, Osun State Police Command, Yemisi Opalola on Thursday, the Command confirmed the death of seven people. Opalola, said the robbers, about 35 of them, came in about five vehicles and simultaneously attacked the areas with explosive devices and guns. She also said the attack on the police station was to ease their robbery of the two banks.
Opalola said, “It was unfortunate that ASP Osho Oluranti, Inspector Lekan Olalere, two special constabularies, namely: Oladeni Olalekan and Oyedeji Muyideen, were shot dead in the process.
“On sighting the overwhelming policemen comprising the Prompt Response Unit, the CP’s Surveillance Team, IRT operatives, STS, 39 PMF, JTF, along with the local security outfits, who swiftly engaged them in a fierce gun duel, the robbers began to flee. While escaping, they shot sporadically and regrettably, three civilians were shot, namely: Toheeb Oyebola, Temilorun Adebiyi and one other, whose identity is not yet known.”
A security operatives who pleaded anonymity confirmed to TOS News that the armed men fled at the sight of security operatives and abandoned one of their operational vehicles stained with blood.
*How it happened at Access Bank in Apomu*
According to an eyewitness, Oyehan Ismail, who narrated the incident to TOS NEWS, he was at Agbowo junction, Orile-owu road which is about 1.5-2km to Access Bank, Apomu when he heard gunshots. He said the armed robbers who rode in two cars, a Mercedes and Mitsubishi Lancer with about 8 people in each car, shot sporadically at people.
He disclosed that members of O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) chased the robbers with their local weapons but they were unable to apprehend them because they had very sophisticated weapons.
He also said that while the incident was on going, the OPC members threw stones, planks to stop the robbers which provoked the armed robbers to start shooting.
He confirmed to TOS NEWS that three civilians were shot dead in Apomu. While he said he did not know the names of two victims, he identified one as Segun Olamoyiro.
He also confirmed that five police officers were shot dead, one at Ikoyi Junction, two at Ikire, and two constabularies at Ikire as well. “The robbers were unable to steal money or cart away valuables from the banks they attacked,” Oyehan added.
This bank robbery happened two months after a group of armed robbers attacked a branch of a second generation bank in Okuku, Osun State, in South-west, Nigeria, where two people were shot dead.