From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
FOUR officials of an Asaba branch of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) have been arrested in connection with alleged armed robbery attack on a bullion van stocked with N25 million.
The van was conveying the money from a branch of the bank in Agbor to Asaba, Delta State when the hoodlums waylaid it around Otulu/Ubulu-Okiti axis of the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway.
According to eyewitness, the robbers had a field day during the few minutes the operation lasted. They shot sporadically into the air before emptying the contents of the bullion van into their operational vehicles, a Honda Pilot Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a Toyota Corolla saloon car, and zoomed off unchallenged.
One of the escort policemen was said to be severely injured during the operation.
Public Relations Officer of Delta State Police Command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, confirmed the arrest of the bank officials including the Cash Management Officer of the UBA branch in Asaba, Amina Oyewole, the Chief Security Officer and two drivers.
Aniamaka said the suspects were arrested following preliminary investigation of the robbery incident that occurred on Tuesday.
He said investigation revealed that the suspects, in a bid to cut corners, illegally picked seven police officers from different locations, and engaged them on an illegal escort for the conveyance of the lump sum from Agbor to Asaba.
Besides, Aniamaka said the suspects did not use “serviceable, secure armored bullion van as required by law. Needless to state that when the bank officials earlier approached the operations department of the command for escort men their request was turned down on the grounds that the bank does not have a serviceable bullion van needed for such operations.
“The command warns that, henceforth, banks requiring police escort must adhere to laid down regulations on specie escort, especially during the ‘ember’ months.”
He said the command has already spread its dragnet to trap the fleeing gang of robbers and bring them to book. He appealed to members of the public to come up with useful information that could help the police.