By Editorial BOARD
THE February 24, 2022 coordinated broad daylight bank robbery in the sleepy town of Uromi, the Headquarters of Esan North Local Government Area of Edo State left much to be desired. It has further put a question mark on the security of life and property in a country that prided herself as the giant of Africa. The bravado and impunity with which a negligible and untrained armed men held an entire community hostage for hours, robbing fours commercial banks simultaneously in the same community which Police Area Command Headquarters is in Irua; a nearby community not up to 700 meters away and mushroom of Divisional Police Stations scattered around its hemisphere; underpins the lip service we pay to the issue of security in Nigeria. For the period about 20 frail looking young unmasked armed men stormed the commercial nerve center of the community, blew open the banks’ security doors, shooting sporadically before settling down to cart away and loaded their loot in booth of their four cars unchallenged was unprecedented. Unconfirmed report says no fewer than 4 persons including two unlucky policemen were gunned down during the almost three hour reign of terror. A viral video obtained by us showed how the armed men took charge of the entire area firing ceaselessly, sauntering in and out of the banks and loading their loot unchallenged. It was a show of shame and slap on the face of our Police Force, the same Police Force which its indolent men would rather go after hapless young boys in the name of yahoo-yahoo.
In a sane clime, the Commissioner of Police of the state would have bowed out or shown the way out of office moments that brazen display of despondency by officers and men of the Edo State Police Command was recorded. It is common knowledge that billions of naira is yearly earmarked for the Police as allocation in addition to the provision of funds and other logistics by various state governments from their respective Security Trust Fund. The banks also reach out to the local Police in areas of their operations in other to avert any ugly incident such that was recorded on February 24.
Incidentally, the local vigilante group in the area summed up the courage and barricaded the only exit route out of the community leading towards a neighbouring Ubiaja town; knowing full well that they had no such sophisticated weapons to confront the blood thirsty men of the underworld. This display of rare courage by the vigilante group and local hunters worked wonders even though the hoodlums fearlessly came down from their getaway vehicles and tried to clear the road. They nonetheless, abandoned a whopping N31, 457,000.00 in the trunk of some of their vehicles and hurriedly escaped with a yet to be ascertained amount of money on seized motor cycles. Members of this courageous vigilante group should be adequately compensated.
In the meantime, it is sad that up to this moment, no arrest has been made in connection with the robbery. It is even more irritating that the Police high command has yet to make any pronouncement on the incident.
It is a notorious fact that anytime such happens, the Police leadership is wont to come out with the usual flimsy excuses of the numerical strength of the organization and dearth in weaponry. This is no longer unacceptable. The primary responsibility of the Nigeria Police Force is to detect and prevent the commission of crime, safeguard life and property. This is statutorily sacrosanct.
The recent declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that 10000 able body youths should be recruited into the Police Force annually is salutary. We are however, miffed that the Police organization and its Police Service Commission counterpart are constantly at daggers drawn over who take control of the recruitment exercise. This should not be so. There is need for independent but coordinate functions of both the Police Force and the PSC. Anything short of this amounts to disservice to the collective wellbeing of the Nigerian Citizenry.
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