Fresh facts, which emerged yesterday about Thursday’s robbery in Offa, Kwara State, showed that many policemen and others at the police station, died because the station had no exit door.
This was the argument of some junior officers yesterday as they lamented the death of their colleagues, describing the losses as unprecedented in the history of the Kwara State Police Command. Some of the policemen at the Offa Police Division recalled that in 2014, there was a similar robbery attack. It was that attack at the station that made them to realise the importance of creating an exit door at the back of the station. A sergeant said: “Back then, there was only the station’s entrance door. There was no exit point.
The police leadership accepted to create the backdoor after the 2014 robbery attack. The door was created at the back to enable personnel to escape in case of emergency.
But a senior police officer, after peace was witnessed in the state, decided to block the exit. Several attempts to make him rescind his decision failed. “It was easy for the robbers on Thursday to attack the station and policemen.
The robbers entered every office, shooting everyone at sight. There was no escape exit. I believe they studied the terrain and the station. The station is a death trap. There is no way to move out except through the front door. When the robbers got to First Bank, the four robbers that entered the banking hall didn’t meet any staff.
They had all escaped through the backdoor.” It was learnt that the robbers carted away new ammunition kept in the strong room. A witness, Segun Badejo, said that he was in a shop, opposite the police station, buying musical videos, when the gunshots started.
He said: “On arrival, the two leaders of the gang asked tricycle riders, who were on both sides of the road not to move. About 13 of them came; four men were stationed at Owode Market T-junction, controlling movement on the major road, three others positioned themselves adjacent to the police station. Another three were in front of the station.
They didn’t seem to be in a hurry as they spent more than an hour, carrying out their operation.” A sergeant, Mustapha Kolawole, who died in the attack, was said to have been transferred to the station in January.
Ironically, the late sergeant was said to have volunteered to replace a colleague, who was always complaining about the makeup of the station. A female policewoman, Yemisi Olayemi, transferred from Osi Police Station in January, was also slain by the robbers. Another deceased was an inspector, due for retirement by September. It was also learnt that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) had earlier on that fateful day, issued a query to the late inspector. The query was supposed to have been served before the close of work.
A police source said: “The policeman, who was typing the query, complained of hunger and stepped out to get food, when we started hearing gunshots. That was how the typist escaped the robbers’ bullets, while the inspector was killed.
” Another police victim, a nursing mother, who had just completed her maternity leave, went to the station to check her next posting, when she was killed. Mr. Pelemo Ayesanmi, also due for retirement next month was killed. Ayesanmi’s eldest daughter, Bukola, who recently graduated from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, said: “It would be difficult for us, his children, to continue with our studies. Our father was a good man. Every morning he would give us money. He was very popular and kind.”