Offa robbery: How bank was invaded by armed bandits ― Masked witness

A masked male witness on Tuesday gave a detailed account of how the a new generation bank in Offa, Kwara State, was attacked by suspected armed robbers on April 5, 2018, before a Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin.

All the five suspects in the 2018 Offa bank robbery, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Azeez Salawu and Niyi Ogundiran, were  present in the court.

Code-named AA, the prosecution witness said that the witness was a security man and the chief security officer in the bank on the day the robbery incident took place.

He narrated how the suspected armed robbers stormed the bank, scared people away, including the police officers attached to the bank.

The witness said that he discovered that a police sergeant, Isa Monday, and a cleric’s driver had been killed by the suspected armed robbers after the door of a place in which he and a woman with her children were hidden was forced open.

He said that the hoodlums carted away many phones and his own power bank, adding that the robbers forced many people to withdraw money using their ATM cards which he said they took away.

The sad incident, according to him, happened at about 4:45 pm when most staff of the bank had left.

“I was at my working place (the said bank) on April 5, 2018. As at that time, I was the chief security officer. Around 4:45 pm, I was inside the banking hall when I heard gunshots and I went to the doors to check what was happening.

“When the gunshots became intense, a woman with her child and I had to take a cover inside a small place within the banking hall. The robbers came in through the main entrance. At that time, most staff had left except three senior staff and a security guard. But everyone escaped, leaving myself and a woman with her kid behind. The robbers opened fire on the door of the place we were hiding with gunshots.

“Some pieces of bullets hit my hands as they fired at the door but the robbers couldn’t gain entry because I had bolted the door from behind. After we were rescued by other staff from where we were hiding, my colleagues told me that a MOPOL, Sergeant Isa Monday, and a driver of a cleric, had been killed by the  robbers. So many phones and my power bank were stolen by the robbers. I was also told that the robbers forced some people to use their ATM cards to withdraw money, which they took away.

“There were five policemen on duty including Isa Monday that was killed. I didn’t see the face of any of the armed robbers,” he said.

Earlier, the trial judge, Haleemah Salman, had ruled in favour of an application made orally by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, to allow the prosecution witness (PW8) give evidence while on a mask to protect his identity despite opposition from the defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe.

The matter was later adjourned to April 22, 2021, by the trial judge.

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