Tony Osauzo, Benin
A police sergeant, Yusuf Igoche, was killed on Tuesday in a gun duel with robbers on the Benin-Lagos highway.
The Edo State Commissioner of Police, DanMalam Mohammed, who confirmed the incident, explained that Igoche was on escort duty with a school principal, who sustained severe injuries during the attack and was rushed to University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
He said they were on their way to Lagos from Enugu when they ran into an ambush.
Mohammed said: “They were coming from Enugu, and the police sergeant was on escort with the principal.
“They ran into an ambush of robbers. He came out against them but unfortunately he lost his life.”
The commissioner added that the case is under investigation and a formal report has been made to the Edo State command on the incident.
“We are investigating. As I am talking to you, I just sent a combined team of police officers into the bush now. On that day, they followed them and they abandoned their car and a lot of things were recovered from the car.
“So, I told them to smoke the forest. They used long range tear gas. When they saw our policemen they entered into the bush but they didn’t know the road and immediately they reach a dead end, they abandoned the car there.
“Our men went there yesterday but I sent them back today again because there is the possibility that they will come out because wherever criminals operated and succeeded there is almost one hundred percent possibility that they will come back,” he said.
It was learnt that the incident occurred around 3pm on Tuesday at the Benin bypass while Igoche, with force number F/462248, was escorting his principal to Lagos.
The gunmen, who were said to have come out of surrounding bushes, reportedly rained bullets on the Lexus GX470 Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) conveying Igoche and the school principal.
The police and the Edo State government recently cleared bushes along the Lagos-Benin highway to give clear visibility to motorists following the spate of kidnappings and robberies on the highway.
But following killing of the police Sergeant, the matter was yesterday raised at the state House of Assembly in a motion of urgent national importance by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yekini Idiaye.
Consequently, security was beefed up in the area with checkpoints mounted by the police, soldiers and vigilante groups.