It was a war-zone, yesterday, at a popular estate in Ogun state as not less than 40 armed robbers stormed four commercial banks in the Agbara area of Ogun State on Thursday killing a nursing mother and two policemen including a corporal identified as Kadiri Aliyu.
Reports says that the robbers hit the bank road, Agbara Estate, as early as 8:30am shooting sporadically into the air and successfully carting away millions of naira from Zenith Bank.
The assailants, clad in army and police uniforms, sacked policemen inside an Armoured Personnel Carrier in the area and shot sporadically, killing Aliyu.
The robbers gained entry into the bank after blowing up the bank’s rotor doors with dynamites and also robbed customers withdrawing money from the ATM.
The robbers, however, failed to gain entry into GTB and First Bank but the rotor doors of Guaranty Trust Bank were destroyed by gunshots.
It was learnt that a pregnant woman, who had been to one of the banks to perform a transaction, was shot in the leg for allegedly trying to look at the robbers. while other customers were said to have sustained gun injuries.
An eyewitness, Michael Chinedu, said: “I had come to use Zenith Bank ATM when the robbers came. It was as if I was at a war front. Some of them were on power bikes and they were shooting sporadically. They shouted at us to lie face down. I think a woman was shot for attempting to look at their faces. I am not sure whether she died or not. They entered the bank. It was terrible.”
Also, a nursing mother, who was identified only as Ope, and a woman in the nearby market along Ilashe Road were hit by stray, as the robbers were escaping the scene.
A plantain seller, Mrs. Arike Godwin, said Ope gave birth to a baby two weeks ago, adding that the incident disrupted commercial activities in the market for hours.
She said, “It was very sad. The whole market was in a total confusion. They (the robbers) were shooting everywhere and Ope was hit by a bullet in the process.”
A security guard attached to one of the banks said the robbers operated for about one hour 30 minutes, adding that policemen and other security operatives arrived at the bank 20 minutes after the robbers had left.
He said, “I witnessed the incident. It was God that saved me. Their bullets landed just beside me. They arrived at 8.14am. They were more than 25 and girls were among them. They were in army and police uniforms and some of them put on helmets. The policeman (Aliyu) was in mufti with a gun. He was going to buy food when the robbers shot him dead. They thought he was coming for them. It was 20 minutes after they had left that policemen came. They also robbed a pastor that just withdrew money from our ATM. They only succeeded in Zenith Bank.”
Another security man attached to First Bank said a man was shot in front of the bank. He, however, said the robbers did not gain entry into the bank.
An okada rider, Matthew Bankole, said, “Where I hid under a trailer, I saw some of them walking gallantly, providing backup for their members inside cars which contained the money they had stolen. They were shooting sporadically. Two women were hit by stray bullets around the market. The nursing mother died instantly but the other woman has been rushed to a hospital.”
The Agbara Estates Limited said in a statement that two policemen were killed.
The statement read in part, “At about 7am on the morning of November 19, 2015, there was an organised armed robbery in Agbara Estate, the first of its kind in the estate’s 37-year history. The target of the attack was Zenith Bank on Bank Road, where the vault and various ATMs were looted. There are two fatalities reported (two police guards at the bank). Agbara Estates is carrying out an immediate review of its security operations and is collaborating with the local authorities and police force to prevent any such incident happening again in the estate.”
Speaking on the incidence, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said only one policeman was killed.
He said, “We learnt about 40 armed robbers invaded the Agbara area around 8.30am but our men engaged them with the Armoured Personnel Carrier. It was painful that one of the policemen at Zenith Bank was killed by the robbers. But some of the robbers later escaped through the waterways in one of the villages in the area.”
He said the robbers abandoned two vehicles at the scene of the incident but blew up one of them as they fled hurriedly.