Police detectives are presently combing South-West states to track other suspects involved in the April 5 Offa bank robberies and recover firearms hidden by the gang members, The PUNCH has learnt.
Our correspondent learnt that seven gang leaders were taking police investigators to their hideouts in Kwara, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states where they were believed to have hidden cache of firearms.
The police had earlier alleged that the gang members carted away 21 AK47 rifles during the attack on the Offa Police Divisional Headquarters where they killed some policemen before they stormed six banks where they looted millions of naira and killed 33 persons.
A source, who is privy to the investigation, told our correspondent in Abuja on Monday that Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran, Kunle Ogunleye, 35, a.k.a Arrow, and Michael Adikwu, a dismissed police corporal, were assisting the police to recover and mop up arms in different cities and communities in the South-West.
The source said, “We announced during the press briefing in Abuja that we had arrested 22 suspects and we paraded 15 while seven suspects are helping us in the investigation and recovery of arms in the South-West.
“When we are through with the investigation, we would present all the suspects to the public. Opadokun and others are alive and helping us with the investigation. Reports of their death are false information emanating from the social media.”
The source, however, declined to disclose the number of firearms that had been recovered, but noted that investigation was still ongoing.
Spokesman for the force, Jimoh Moshood, could not be reached for comment on the development and he had yet to respond to calls and a text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Citizen Communication and Advocacy Centre, says linking the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the robbery suspects could tarnish the image of the National Assembly and portray the nation in a bad light before the international community.
The director of the centre, Charles Ibiang, at a press conference on Monday, said, “Are political thugs not a culture for the present ruling class? Who among them is exempted? Let us use this case to resolve this issue; citizens must insist on fairness and justice must be seen to have been done, not vendetta or vengeance.”
He said people must ask questions, like an update on the retired police officer the robbers accused of supplying them arms and ammunition.
Also, the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, called on the relevant authorities, including the police, not to play politics with the issue, saying an incident that claimed over 30 lives should be taken seriously.
Speaking while addressing members of the Kwara State Artisans Congress, who protested to the Government House in support of the Senate President, the governor stated, “I think we should all put our hands in prayers and urge the police to do a thorough investigation, arrest all the criminals involved in this dastardly act to ensure that they are brought to book and justice is done. It is too serious an issue to be used as a political tool.
Ahmed explained that his administration had empowered residents of the state so they could become good entrepreneurs but that those who venture into crime should face the consequences.
He said, “You are all aware that we have made this economic development programme available to different groups in different forms. For those who have learnt skills among the so-called ‘good boys’, we ensured that they also benefit so that they will be moved out of the streets.
“However, those who have chosen to use the support we have given them to engage in criminality must be made to face the wrath of the law.