Detectives of Delta State Police Command investigating the September 5 ambush of bank officials and policemen on the Benin-Asaba Expressway by bandits, who carted away N25 million from a bullion van, have apprehended and detained an Inspector and three other policemen, said to be on illegal escort duty. Police Public Relations Officer of Delta Command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, who confirmed the arrest and detention of the policemen in Asaba, said Police have released two officials of the bank earlier arrested, while investigations were ongoing. He revealed that the fifth policeman on the illegal escort was shot dead by the bandits, noting that some officials of the bank had earlier approached the Operations Department of the Command for escort men, but that the request was turned down on the grounds that the bank did not have a serviceable van required for such operations.
According to him, “in a bid to cut corners, the bank officials illegally picked the police officers from different locations and engaged them on an illegal escort for the conveyance of N25 million from its branch in Agbor to Asaba, without using a serviceable and secure armoured bullion van as required by law.”
A police source said: “The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Zanna Ibrahim, is unhappy not just at the consistent flouting of the rule by the banks, but even by police officers, who illegally accepted to go on the escort.
“He has decided to use the latest incident to teach those flouting the rules that it is meant to be obeyed. That is why he has ordered a full-scale investigation into the incident and is determined to punish all those cutting corners, especially within the Command.”
Meanwhile, since 2015, the Commissioner of Police, Asaba, had raised an internal memorandum to Commanders of Mopols 31, Asaba, Oghara and Operations Officer, Asaba, warning about the habit of bank managers in Asaba, especially the operations managers, involvement in the current incident, “picking your men deployed for guard duties within Asaba for specie escort. “This practice is unethical and negates the principle of specie movement. A situation where five policemen are picked to escort money within and outside Asaba instead of the minimum of 15 men as directed by the Inspector General of Police is suicidal. “In the event of attack by hoodlums, the five men cannot in anyway repel the attack, thereby embarrassing the Command. “You are, therefore, directed to warn your men responsible for this anomalous act to desist, as the monitoring team has been directed to arrest them whenever seen performing this illegal duty and other supervising officers will be queried.”