Armed robbers, on Friday morning, attacked a commercial bank in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State and killed two policemen in an attempt to break into the banking hall.
Channels Television gathered that the gunmen, numbering four, arrived at the premises of the bank which is situated along the Local Government Secretariat at about five minutes before nine o’clock in the morning and started to shoot sporadically.
This left passersby, traders and motorists scampering for their lives while the shooting lasted.
According to Kogi State Police, all attempts by the robbers to gain entrance into the banking hall proved abortive as they were successfully repelled.
While the Police lost two of their men in a gun duel with the suspected armed robbers, two of the robbers were also killed.
One, who was shot in the head, died instantly, while another one who was shot in the lap died in the hospital were he was being treated.
The Nigerian government’s call for private sector partnership in tackling insecurity in some parts of Nigeria had started yielding results, with the Abia State Government taking delivery of ten security vans donated by a commercial bank as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The double cabin pick-up vans are fully equipped with communication gadgets to boost security agencies’ efforts in tackling crime in the state.
While receiving the keys to the vans in the Government House, Umuahia on Monday, Governor Theodore Orji expressed delight for the support shown by the management of the bank and said that sustaining security was top on the government’s agenda.
He stressed his administration’s commitment to ensuring that the state remained safe for residents and investors.
Governor Orji told stories of some horrifying experiences in the state some years ago when kidnappers nearly over ran the state, kidnapping everyone in their way including bankers.
“That era was a bad time for us as a state and we made every effort to chase them away from the state and after doing that we have been sustaining the security and peace we achieved thereafter,” he said.
While handing over the vans to the governor, the bank’s zonal head, South East/South-South, Dr Augustine Njoku, said that the donation was motivated by the commitment shown by the state government on insecurity issues.
Mr Njoku stressed that the issue of crime fighting was of utmost importance to any society and also hinted that the gesture is part of their social corporate responsibility towards ensuring peace and security
The presentation of the vehicles’ keys to Governor Orji could very well signal a partnership that is aimed at sustaining security and thereby boosting economic development.
The Nigerian government had reiterated that even though, it is one of the primary prerogative of the government to ensure security, the war on crime could be won if individuals and corporate organisations could join contribute to the eradication of vices within their immediate vicinity.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), today visited the scene of Saturday’s fire disaster, Euroasia Plaza, on 10/12 Breadfruit Street and afterwards ordered that the street be cordoned off until firemen completely put off the fire and have engineers determine the structural strength of the building even as he sympathized with traders over the incident.
The Euroasia Plaza which is a five-storey building housing wholesale and retail shops as well as a branch of a major commercial bank, was engulfed by fire in the afternoon of Saturday with the two top floors collapsing on each other just as men of the Lagos State Fire Service, arrived in good time to battle inferno on the fourth and fifth floors of the building atop a Bronto Skylift, an aerial ladder firefighting equipment, a battle that the firemen are still fighting.
Speaking to newsmen after inspecting the damage, Governor Fashola said it was expedient to cordon off the street on which the building stands for the safety of all which will ensure that further incident will not be recorded after the incident as no one could yet determine the structural strength of the damaged building.
“At this stage, we are still battling with the fire. We are yet to know the strength of the damaged building; but meanwhile, the paramount thing is to minimize the loss. I have asked the Divisional Police Officer here to cordon off the street. Our Engineers will come to determine the structural strength of the damaged building”, the Governor said.
After visiting the scene of the incident, Governor Fashola addressed traders and other stakeholders in the area appealing to them to cooperate with the police and the firemen by being patient until both the firemen and the structural engineers finish their work on the building explaining that it was necessary to prevent people from trading or going near the building in order to avoid loss of life.
He told the agitated traders, “I apologize to you and others who are doing business here, but we are taking precaution to avoid any loss of life. Every other thing that is lost in the fire is replaceable but we cannot replace life. So let us eliminate the fire and save life”.
He advised them and others living or doing business around the building to keep a safe distance from the building until engineers assess its strength to determine how safe it is adding, “You can see, the fire is not fully out. Until we finish our work, we will not allow you to go close or into the building to avoid any loss of life”.
Responding to a question by one of the affected traders on what Government would do to assist them, Governor Fashola said the major priority for now was to ensure the safety of all, the complete stoppage of the fire and determination of the structural integrity of the building adding that when work on the building was finished, the possibility or otherwise of traders retrieving their goods will be determined following which government could assess and assist on the losses.
The Governor, however, advised the traders not to crowd around fire disaster scenes in future in order not to obstruct firemen from seeing to their core duty, that is to put off the fire adding that such obstructions would not only lead to further spread of the fire but could increase the possibility of loss of life.
“We appreciate your efforts to put out the fire. We understand your sense of being your brothers’ keepers. But it must stop. We have built the capacity to fight fire disasters so your efforts can only aggravate the damage and increase the danger of loss of life. Henceforth, you should keep off the scene and allow professional firemen to do their job”, the Governor said.
He said the difficulty experienced by firemen while trying to gain access to the scene was caused by the traders who chose to trade on the streets instead of the modern markets built by the Government in different parts of the State adding, however, that Government would continue to engage with the traders on the issue.
Governor Fashola also advised the traders to take out insurance policies on their businesses against loss and damages such as they experienced as a result of the fire pointing out that in cases like the present fire disaster, insurance companies with which they insured their goods would come to their aid.
Addressing another group of traders and residents of the area at the Martin Street roundabout, the Governor again reiterated the necessity of Government’s action in cordoning off the Breadfruit Street adding, however, that anybody who goes in there would be arrested by the Police.
As at the time of the late morning visit, firemen were still battling with the fire as they continuously fired jets of water towards the smoking ruins of the top floors. No less than 10 modern fire trucks, including aerial ladders, were deployed on the street to fight the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjourning buildings.
The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Special Adviser on the Central Business District, Mrs. Derin Disu were part of the entourage of the Lagos State Governor on the Breadfruit fire visit plus other top government officials.