Osun High Court shocked at bank robbery scenes

•Robbers demanded bankers’ religion —Witnesses •N7.486m cash tendered as exhibit

AMIDST deep emotion and shock, an Osun State High Court in Ikirun was for two hours on Friday told how bank workers and policemen were killed by armed robbers who attacked three bank branches in the town on February 12, 2016.

Standing trial for the robberies before the court are four suspects, Nuhu Jimoh, Ndubisi David, Aderibigbe Oluwaseun and Ogundunmade Olufemi Kayode. The leader of the gang is from Kogi State.

The court which had, in the course of the trial, taken evidence from four prosecution witnesses, had to move its sitting to the locus in quo  (scenes of the robberies) on Friday when the prosecution counsel, Abiodun Badiora, a director in the state Ministry of Justice, called the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), PW5, Inspector Olufemi Olotu.

At one of the banks visited by the court, witnesses gave evidence of how the robbers maimed and killed bank workers after asking for the religion of each of them.

The first scene visited by the court was Union Bank where it was discovered that the robbers faced no resistance before entering the bank premises through a side door that was left open.

The trial judge, Justice Jide Falola, challenged the bank manager, who was also present at the trial, why the door was left open. He said it was for the customers as the front security door was being repaired at that time.

According to Inspector Olotu, whose evidence was corroborated by officials of the banks, the robbers at Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) killed two policemen, blew up the two front security doors, entered and asked for the business manager and the business services manager who was in charge of the bulk room and the bank vaults.

“These two officials were asked at gun point by the suspects to lead them to the bulk room and the vaults where they packed all available money.

“They then asked the two bank managers, one after the other, their names and religion. The business manager told them his name was Saka and that he was a Muslim. They asked for proof and he took them to his car where he showed them his prayer mat and rosary.

“The other manager also told them he was a Muslim and his name, Ibrahim. He was asked to recite a Surah which he did and was spared.

“The robbers then moved to the cubicle where they packed all the cash before asking each of the bank workers who were lying face down their names and religion. Two of them, Isaac and Elugbadebo, were shot point blank in the head after giving their names. The third person, Muibat, was wounded in the head with a gun butt for not covering her head,” witnesses told the court at the scene.

However, the court noted that the four suspects on trial are of mixed religious persuasions – Muslim and Christian.

The court was then shown where the two bank workers were shot and the bullet marks were seen still visible on the floor tiles.

After taking evidence at Skye Bank, the court moved to First Bank where, again, the IPO, who was also part of the police operation on that day, gave further evidence.

Inspector Olotu told the court that the robbers blew up the security doors at First Bank with dynamites after shooting into the gate house toilet there, wounding a cleaner, Olanike Taiwo and a security man, Wale John.

“They, again, packed all the money here after which they moved to the main road in front of the bank branches, parading up and down, and daring the police and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) members in the town to come and confront them,” the witness told the court on oath.

His evidence was corroborated by a number of bank staff, one of them a security man who gave a vivid account of what he observed from inside a gutter where he hid and watched the robbers.

With the evidence taken at the bank premises, the prosecution counsel, Badiora, informed the court that the prosecution was closing its case, while Justice Falola asked the defence counsel, Sunday Atofarati, O. O. Akintajuwa and A. O. A. Adegoke, to open the case of the defence on the adjourned date – May 20 through May 21, 2019.

Earlier in the course of trial, a cash sum of N7,486,000 and five AK47 assault rifles, magazines, cartridges and other arms recovered from the armed robbers at the crime scene were tendered in court by Inspector Olotu.

Other witnesses who gave evidence earlier were SP Oluwaseyi Adedayo (PW1); ASP Gabriel Ogwuche (PW2); M. Ayodele, head, cash office of First Bank, Ikirun branch (PW3) and Inspector Atiku Mutiu (PW4).