By Rasaq Ibrahim
Two bank officials have been arrested by the Ekiti State Police Command over robbery incident in UBA branch in Oye Ekiti, the headquarters of Oye Local Government, on Thursday.
The old generation bank was attacked by a seven-member robbery squad around 3 pm in two utility vehicles through Ayede Ekiti with a policeman and a seven-year-old girl killed.
The sum of N25m, foreign Currencies were discovered to have been stolen by the daredevil robbers who gained entrance into the banking hall with dynamite.
The robbers who had earlier attacked the Police Divisional Police station in Oye-Ekiti burnt a police van used to block Ilupeju-Oye highway after they robbed for over 30 minutes.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba, alleged that there was internal connivance between the bank officials and the robbers going by the startling revelations of the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV).
Amba made this disclosure on Friday while addressing newsmen at Oye Ekiti during an on the spot inspection to the scene of the incident.
Amba alleged further that the video footage also revealed how the bankers and a customer, who ran inside upon hearing the gunshots, had used the robbery opportunity to stuff money into their pockets as they moved frequently into the vault before the bandits struck the security door with over seven Improvised Explosive Device.
He said it was baffling that the bank officials could allegedly open the strong room seven minutes before the robbery.
The Commissioner said between the time the bandits attacked the Police Divisional Office, which was about 300 metres away from the bank and the time they struck, was enough for the bankers to have escaped after closing the vault, but refused for the sinister intention they allegedly harboured.
“The summary of it is that there was internal connivance and it is unfortunate. There was a similarity between this robbery and the one we had at Ise Ekiti recently.
“It baffles me that there was suspected insiders’ connivance in the whole issue. Plus or minus, there was a missing link and it is that link that we are working upon, trying to investigate.
“The banking policy does not allow us to post mobile policemen to the bank for a reason known to them and this started in 2016 based on the letter written by the bank requesting for only plain-clothed policemen.
“Between the time the robbers attacked our men and the time the robbery took place, the staff had enough time to escape through the exit door. They were captured by CCTV moving in and out of the vault. The vault was even opened before the robbers came.
“Despite the opportunity, none of them made efforts to escape, they were stuffing money and there was evidence to prove this.
“The staff opened the vault by 3.05 pm and the robbers blew up the security door at 3.12 pm, this gave a strong suspicion that there was internal collaboration in this matter, it showed complicit.
“All these are the dynamics we are studying and that will form the basis for our thorough investigation,” he said.
Amba added that the police recovered a carton inside the bank containing over N2 million that was hidden by one of the bankers before the operation.
“The carton was hidden under the table within the banking hall. This should be part of the loots from the strong room,” Amba added.
It was learnt that the woman whose child was killed by stray bullets during the operation, had been taken out of Oye Ekiti to her country home.
It was also revealed that the girl was the only child of the bereaved woman.