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FESTAC Robbery: Police blame Navy, Airforce

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… IG redeploys Frank Mba
By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE

Barely 48 hours after a 40-man gang of armed robbers attacked FESTAC and robbed two banks in gestapo style, the police in Lagos, Thursday said their appeal for help to the Nigerian Navy (NN) and Nigerian Air Force (NAF) did not yield results.

Speaking on anonymity, senior police officers said that they had radioed first the NN, when the armed robbers struck that morning, but got no favourable response came from the force to assist.

According to the sources, the navy had told them (the police), that even their smallest vessel cannot access the canal since it’s too shallow, adding that they should seek help from the Air Force.

The source explained that as a result, the police had allegedly sought for the air power of the Airforce to assist in pursuing the suspects as they made their getaway through the canal, yet no quick response.

Rather, the police officer pointed out, that the Air Force told them to contact NAF headquarters for clearance.

When contacted, the Director Navy Information (DINFO), Commodore Aliyu Kabiru, said the navy would not be drawn into words over the pages of the newspaper.

He said, “The NN is constitutionally responsible in defending the nation’s territorial integrity by sea. Thus, the Navy operates in the open seas.

“However, due to security challenges in some parts of the country, the Nigerian Navy has been collaborating with sister security agencies in checking criminalities in the nation.

“The marine police on the other hand is charged with maintaining security in the inland waters. Thus, the issue of apportioning blame does not arise at all.”

Meanwhile, the first casualty of the FESTAC armed robbery attack was the Area Commander, Area E, Frank Mba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who has been redeployed with immediate effect.

The redeployment signal which purportedly came from the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, saw Mba being redeployed to Osogbo, Osun State.

Before this action Thursday, the police authority had earlier issued a query to the mobile policemen on duty who were posted to guard the two banks.

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There was however no sign that the query would extend to the area commander, as the command had earlier commended him for recovering N27 million from the robbers as they fled.

When contacted as regards the allegations against the navy and Airforce, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Jospeh Offor, said he was not aware of that, adding that he was also not aware of Mba’s transfer.

Armed robbers had on Wednesday morning stormed Diamond and Access banks located in FESTAC Town looted money after breaking the rotor doors with dynamite and killed a mother and her 14 month old daughter who were hit by a stray bullet.

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