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You cannot do this and go free – Benue gov, Rev Fr Alia reacts to Otukpo Bank robbery

Otukpo Bank Robbery
Fleeing armed gunmen after the Otukpo Bank robbery on Friday, 20 October, 2023 | Val9ja News

The Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia has condemned Fridays’ armed robbery attack on some financial institutions as well as a Police Station by unknown gunmen in the Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State which led to the death of some Police officers and civilians in the area.


According to a statement released Saturday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Tersoo Kula, the governor described the robbery incident as an affront on the state; especially that it took place at the exact time the Security Council meeting was in progress at the Government House Makurdi, the State capital.

Governor Alia who sympathised with the families of those who were gruesomely murdered by the robbers during the robbery vowed that the government in collaboration with security agencies will not rest until the perpetrators of the heinous acts are brought to book.

Recall that heavily armed men Friday, stormed and robbed selected commercial banks in Otukpo, the headquarters of Benue South senatorial District in an operation that lasted one hour.

It was gathered that the gunmen who came in their numbers were armed with explosives and other sophisticated weapons and launched an attack on the social institutions at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

According to an eyewitness, the operation claimed the lives of about eight persons, including police personnel, vigilante members and a serving councillor who was transacting business in one of the affected commercial banks.

The eyewitness stated that the hooded armed men had earlier attacked the police station in the town, where they disarmed all the personnel on duty before proceeding to the main commercial banks.

He said: “The entire thing started at about 3pm. From nowhere young men numbering about 10  in Toyota Hilux vehicles and another small car stormed a bank and detonated explosives after which they started shooting sporadically.

“All the cars that were parked by the banks and within the area were all shattered, including the goods in people’s shops, because the banks are very close to the market.

“The explosions created pandemonium in the town and people started running in different directs for their lives.

“In the midst of the confusion the armed men successfully robbed three banks. They also killed about eight persons including some of the police personnel attached to the banks as well as some members of the Otukpo vigilante who attempted to confront them.

“We learnt that among those killed was a serving councillor who was in one of the banks to transact business when the armed men stormed the premises.

“After successfully robbing the banks, the armed men carted away money in bags, shooting into the air to scare away the people and headed towards Makurdi via the Makurdi-Otukpo Road.

“Like what we see in the movies, as they drove pass the streets of Otukpo, they continued to shoot sporadically forcing people to scamper as if there is no security in the town.”

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Superintendent Catherine Anene confirmed the incident to news men on Saturday.

According to a report by BusinessDay, the PPRO listed the affected banks to include, Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Stanbic IBTC Bank as she said that men of the Otukpo Police command engaged the suspects in a gun battle along Otukpo-Taraku road, adding that it neutralised two of the suspects in the process.

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