‘Robbers forced us to load money for them’


A SECURITY man with one of the banks robbed in Ikorodu, Lagos, on Wednesday, yesterday relived what he called “an horrible experience”.

The robbery scene was desolate-the day after- as many offices, including the banks, were closed.

Traffic on Ogolonto Road was light; the few businesses that opened within 500metres of Majidun Bridge, assessed the damaged to their properties by stray bullets.

Twelve people were injured; eight vehicles were damaged during the operation.

The injured, Olufunsho Ajibike, Tobi Balogun, Ariyo Taiwo, Agboola Biodun, Olanipekun Seun, Onikosi Segun, Adebisi Kolawole, Sunday Folorunsho, Rilwan Olaniyan, Damilola Adediran, Olabanji Abiye and Janet Adeshina, were treated at the Ikorodu General Hospital and discharged.

Nineteen-year-old Olaniyan, it was learnt, was transferred to another hospital on Lagos Mainland for surgery.

The security man said the gun men numbering about 15 came in through Beach Road, shooting as they paraded the road.

The hoodlums, according to him, were coordinated and split themselves into groups.

Those who entered the banks threw dynamites that shattered the security doors; two others (man and a woman) went into the Ebute Ipakodo Police Station, shooting sporadically.

The others, he said, took control of the road, shooting.

“I have been instructed not to talk to you. I can really talk much but please it was a horrible experience. It was sad and terrible. We all ran. Not even the policemen came out.

He said: “The robbers, small children, meant business. But I think they were not out to kill anyone. They were just shooting to scare people off.”

Other eyewitnesses in a nearby restaurant told The Nation that few policemen came out about 30 minutes after the armed robbers had left.

Some of the boys, who claimed they were on the other side (police station side) when the incident occurred, said the policemen removed their uniforms and fled when the robbers besieged the station.

“You need to see what happened here yesterday (Wednesday). I am laughing but it is not funny. The truth is that we do not have security in this country.

“See our policemen shouting “I am a criminal! I am a criminal! Because two young armed robbers held them captive.

“The police could not do anything. They removed their uniforms; some of them ran away. Even the female ones removed their uniforms and had only their underwears on. They were rolling on the floor and screaming ‘I am a criminal! All of them.

“I am laughing because the police waited until the robbers had gone before they came out and started parading, looking for innocent people to arrest.

“But it is not their fault though. Because they cannot match those armed robbers. Those guys had better guns and even bombs. They were very prepared,” said an eyewitness.

Another eye witness, Tunde, who spoke in Yoruba, told The Nation that most of the hoodlums wore military camouflage and the new army brown boots.

When The Nation visited the Origin Jetty, Where the robbers escaped in two speed boats afer torching their vehicles, some of the damaged vehicles had been taken off the road.

It was learnt that some vehicles belonging to people who had gone to work through the waterways were affected when the hoodlums burnt their own vehicles.

A man, who gave his name as T.J, said they scampered for safety through the canal at the sound of the gunshots.

He said: “I am yet to recover my voice. My sister, it was not funny. The way they were shooting and jubilating, not a single policeman or soldier pursued them.

“They were just shooting on their own and it was in the course of the jubilation that they shot that teenager.

“As they were coming, we took our boats away so that they didn’t hijack anyone. But when we could no longer stand the pressure from the bullet, I personally dived into the canal and burst out on the other street.

“I was inside the canal when I heard them calling on their boats to come for them. I saw two speed boats come to the jetty and they jumped in and left.

“By the time I came out, they had set their vehicles on fire and the fire affected other people’s cars too. Then, the bullets they were shooting also damaged some people’s windscreens and other parts. Even my car was affected and at the moment, it is at the panel beater’s place. In all, about eight cars were destroyed.”

It was learnt that the robbers told the bankers to “cooperate or die.”

Another eyewitness, Damilola Adediran, who sustained neck and hand injuries, said the robbers forced customers to load money in their bags.

Adediran, who has since gone to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, because of her “worried mother”, told The Nation on telephone that the robbers did not even mind that she was bleeding.

“I was in the bank with my brother to deposit money. Suddenly, we saw glasses flying and people started running to take cover.

“The glasses cut me on my hand and neck. We all ran. Immediately they entered, they said they were not in the bank to kill anyone that people should either cooperate or die.

“By that time, they have gotten access to where the money is and I was hiding just beside the place. When they then saw the money, I just noticed someone dragging me by my neck and telling me to be packing money into bags for them.

“They forced bank customers and staff to pack money for them and when they finished they left. It was my brother who called my sister to take me to the hospital after they have gone.

“I just thank God that nothing happened to me and my brother. Most people sustained injuries from broken glasses. They did not shoot guns inside the bank. They just went for the money and then forced us to pack it for them,” she said.

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