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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Ilara-Mokin Bank Robbery

RESIDENTS of Ondo State are yet to come to terms with the recent violent robbery attack at a commercial bank in Ilara-Mokin, Ifedore Local Government Area of the state, which is about five kilometers from Akure, the state capital. Reports have it that a gang of robbers besieged the town on July 15, 2021, shooting sporadically into the air, while making their way to the commercial bank, killing three innocent souls. The robbers were said to have used dynamite to “bomb” the security doors of the bank for unhindered access to the vault, where they carted away an undisclosed amount of money.
IN the process, one of the two security guards was said to have escaped into the bush while the other who ran to the security room to take cover was ‘bombed’, leaving his body in shreds. Another victim was a broadcast journalist and recently hired public relations officer of Elizade University located in the town, OlubunmiAfuye, who ran into the scene on his way to office; he had his head shattered inside his vehicle by the robbers’ bullets. A motorcycle rider was also gunned down in the reign of terror.
THE banking industry is a means to the economic growth of any state or community, as facilities in banks are meant to drive specific economic initiatives, including job creation. A bank robbery is therefore a direct attack on the people, as the principal victims of the incidents are not the staff or management but innocent souls, such as passers-by. Bank losses in such cases are minimized by their insurers, more so that commercial banks now keep limited cash in their branches.
THE proximity of Ilara-Mokin to Akure, the state capital, should have been an advantage in terms of prompt response by security agents but the reverse was the case, as the robbers were said to have operated for a few hours unchallenged.
THE fact that the dare-devil criminals escaped through the old route after their operation showed that they were familiar with the terrain and that the attack was premeditated rather than spontaneous. Sadly, no security agent got an inkling of the planned attack through intelligence gathering. The locals who attempted to give them a chase were hapless and incapacitated in combating the dangerous weapons wielded by the robbers.
OUR major concern is the preparedness of the police to combat crime, especially bank robbery in the state. This is because people no longer keep huge amounts of cash at home due to internet banking, making robbers to resort to banks. They now attack banks in isolated communities especially the suburbs as a result of their vulnerability.
TO prevent future occurrence, security agencies should depend more on the use of technology instead of resulting to crude force. Ondo State government’s effort in deploying the use of drones for surveillance in Ore and its environs is commendable but we urge the governor to extend the gesture to other parts of the state for crime prevention and control. We also call on the government to resuscitate the use of armoured personnel carriers across the state for security agencies to aid quick response to emergencies.
WHILE we urge local communities to secure their environments by constituting themselves into vigilante groups, we call on government to assist them with basic tools of defence against marauders. Above all, we call on the Governor to arrange a security summit for bank officials operating in the state to sensitise them on how to fortify their facilities and prevent future attacks.

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