The 12 suspects currently being interrogated by Police operatives in Kwara State over the recent bank robbery in Offa were arrested through the tracking of mobile phones the robbers collected from victims and gave their girlfriends, police has said.
According to Vanguard, after the Offa bank robbery operation, the suspects took away the handsets of the victims, which they later gave out to their girlfriends.
Police officials of the robbed banks were also said to have given the police all handsets found within their premises after the robbery. It was gathered that the interrogation of the girlfriends with whom the phones were found, led to the arrest of the suspects in Ibadan, Lagos and Abeokuta.
Further checks revealed that the suspects had been in and out of jail several times and that they regrouped for that operation.
There are reports that policemen who would have prevented the deadly attack on Offa community compromised.
According to the proprietor of the hotel where the bandits lodged a day before they struck, he had informed the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the town over alleged discoveries of some incriminating materials on the bandits while they were checking into his hotel.
The DPO and Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, immediately sent some officers to the hotel.
A source said instead of arresting the suspects, the police officers negotiated with the bandits, and “the bandits offered the officers N400,000.”
When the policemen returned to the station, they told the DPO and DCO that the bandits were Yahoo boys and not robbers as claimed by the hotel owner.
Vanguard says a source told them:
“It was not surprising that the robbers visited the police station the following day and killed about nine policemen in retaliation for collecting N400,000 from them.”
It was further gathered that the bandits were said to have taken the decision to kill the policemen during the attack with the notion that if they didn’t kill them, they might recognise them during their operation and this might spell doom for them at the end.
Although, the Police has arraigned the proprietor of the hotel before a magistrate court in Ilorin last week for alleged conspiracy in the attack, sources told Vanguard the proprietor challenged the DPO and DCO in Offa to deny if he had not informed them about the bandits when they lodged in his hotel before the attacks on the banks.
Also arraigned alongside the hotelier last week were the accountant, a receptionist, a room keeper and a club house operator of the hotel.
They were arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information to screen an offender.
The Police said the offences contravened Sections 97 and 167 of the Penal Code.
After taking submissions from the Police and defence counsel, the magistrate, Mrs. M. B. Folorunso adjourned the case till May 3 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, spokesman of Kwara State Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, told Vanguard yesterday that he was not aware of such information. His words:
“If the hotelier actually gave the Police information about the suspects in his hotel, why didn’t he deny them lodging? To me, it is an afterthought.”