Four officials of an Asaba branch of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) have been arrested in connection with an alleged armed robbery attack on a bullion van stocked with N25 million.
The van was conveying the N25 million from a branch of the bank in Agbor to Asaba, Delta State when a gang of robbers waylaid it around Otulu/Ubulu-Okiti axis of the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway on Tuesday and made away with the money.
According to eyewitness account, the robbers had 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 sustained grave injuries during the operation.
The injured cop and six others were allegedly illegally hired by the cash management office of the branch.
Spokesperson for the 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, one Amina Oyewole, the Chief Security Officer and two drivers.
Aniamaka said the suspects were arrested following preliminary investigation of the robbery incident.
He said investigation revealed that the suspects, in a bid to cut corners, illegally picked the police officers from different locations, and engaged them on an illegal escort for the conveyance of the lump sum from Agbor to Asaba.
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 out its dragnet to trap down the fleeing gang of armed robbers and bring them to book, and appealed to members of the public to come up with useful information that could help the police.