RISING CASES OF BANK ROBBERIES
ANYONE would be right to wonder what the police do. The rising number of bank robberies and their regularity should be of concern to the authorities who need to act decisively and quickly.
If the number of attacks does not bother the security agencies, the high number of lost lives should. A short list of some of the most recent attacks follows:
·Akure, Ondo State - At least four persons were shot dead during a bank robbery that lasted about one hour. The operation took place from 2 pm. Four other persons suffered gun shot injuries. The robbers used dynamite to blow open the bank's security door.
·Ikare Akoko, Akoko North East Local Government Area, Ondo State - No less than three bank robberies have been recorded this year.
·Auchi, Edo State - Banks forced to close down after a foiled robbery of a bank branch.
·Saminaka, Kaduna State - Robbers burnt down the local police station, killing a police inspector in the fire, before robbing a bank.
·Kabba, Kogi State - Gunmen shot dead two officers after blowing up a police station in and attacked a bank branch there.
·Sabo Ajegunle, in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State - Robbers attacked four banks with dynamites and carted away a huge amount of money.
·The hoodlums might have killed about 12 people.
·Ago-Iwoye in Ijebu North Local Government, Ogun State - Attempts to rob some banks in the premises of Olabisi Onabanjo University failed but three persons lost their lives.
Certain patterns are emerging - the use of dynamites to foreclose debates about access to the vaults and attacks on the police. How are the robbers getting the dynamites? Are the police aware of the level of education people need to operate dynamites to precision?
Why do the robbers operate without haste? They spent an hour in Akure before soldiers and the police arrived. Do they have information about the deployment of security?
Attacks on police stations, common in the North, free the way for the robbers who also cart away police weapons to strengthen their weaponry. The killing of police officers is meant to tell the people how unprotected they are. The absolute lack of anger from the police over the killing of their own is very disappointing.
There are annoying arguments about these robberies. One is that they are seasonal, the more reason, we think the police should have anticipated them. The other is that the police have stretched their resources on Boko Haram and other disturbances.
None of these positions is acceptable to us. There appears to be a lull in the part of the police to tackle crime. The extra help from other security agencies is not working either. Robberies are increasing. Banks are targets and simple intelligence would dictate that insider information is at work.
What would government do about the growing insecurity these robberies represent? If people are not safe in banks, they would limit their activities in their premises.
When will the security agencies make a statement to armed robbers that will frighten them? Nigerians are waiting and worried.