By Abiodun OBA
The people of Benue state have been called upon to be vigilant and always endeavour to report suspicious movements around them at all times.
Benue governor Hyacinth Alia gave the charge while reacting to the coordinated bank robberies in Otukpo town, Otukpo Local Government Area of the State.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Sir Tersoo Kula, the Governor said the deadly gunmen must be apprehended and brought to justice.
Alia noted that the armed robbers struck at the exact time the Security Council Meeting was in progress in Government House Makurdi, describing the incident as an affront to the state.
He also strongly condemned the dastardly operations and assured that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
The Governor sympathized with the families of those gruesomely murdered by the robbers during the operation and prayed to God to grant them eternal rest.
“It is an unfortunate development that people who were on duty, especially police officers, were shot and killed in cold blood by the mindless robbers.
“But they cannot get away with this. Already, security agencies are on their trail and must apprehend and bring them to justice,” he said.
He called on the people of the state to be vigilant and always endeavour to report suspicious movements around them at all times.
Police Command in the state also confirmed the incidents but refused to give any details, however, a credible source from Otukpo claimed that the robberies took place for about 2hrs.
“We started hearing gunshots about 3 pm; when I tried to verify I discovered that three banks were being robbed.
“Before they went to the banks, the armed robbers first attacked the Otukpo Police Station, disarmed the officers and were shooting indiscriminately.
“All of them covered their faces and were in two Hilux vans, a Toyota Matrix and another small car carrying out the robbery which lasted about one hour without any resistance.”
The source also said that the robbers left seven dead, including Police officers and a former councillor who was transacting business in one of the affected banks.
“The incidents caused huge stir in the town as residents, particularly traders were seen running helter skelter for dear lives.