In a shocking turn of events, a group of armed robbers carried out a daring attack on five banks in Otukpo, Benue State, on October 20, 2023, simultaneously killing the Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, CSP. John Adikwu, police teams and other civilians. A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Sewuese Catherine Anene, for the Commissioner of Police in Benue, confirmed that the audacious robbery took place at Access Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, and Stanbic Bank, sending shockwaves through the community.
The late Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, CSP. John Adikwu, and other police teams in the area, who valiantly engaged the robbers in a fierce gunfight, were unable to prevent the attackers from successfully robbing the banks. The robbers made a swift getaway, using a network of vehicles to escape.
Response Kills Two Robbers
In response to this audacious attack, more police teams have been deployed to Otukpo, along with collaboration from other security agencies, in a joint effort to stabilise the area and prevent the criminals from escaping.
A dramatic confrontation unfolded along the Otukpo-Taraku road, where the robbers were intercepted. They engaged officers in a gun duel, resulting in two of the robbers losing their lives. The remaining gang members abandoned their vehicles and escaped into the dense forest, with the police in hot pursuit.
Tragically, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP. John Adikwu, sustained a gunshot wound to his stomach during the battle and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Three other brave police officers also lost their lives in the line of duty. Numerous individuals who were caught in the crossfire and sustained injuries have been moved to hospitals for treatment. A total of eight persons, including the deceased police officers, were said to have lost their lives as a result of the incident.
One of the dead included Mr. Emmanuel Uche, was said to have worked for one of the banks, after completing his mandatory one-year service as a member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) earlier this year.
An ongoing investigation is actively seeking to bring the remaining criminals to justice, and the authorities are determined to ensure that those responsible face the full force of the law. In the words of the Commissioner of the Benue State Police Command, “More police teams in collaboration with other security agents have been deployed to Otukpo to assist in stabilising the area and prevent these robbers from escaping.”
Governor Alia and Honourable Angbo Speak
In the wake of this appalling incident, Honourable Angbo Kennedy Agbogo, the representative of Otukpo/Akpa State Constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims. He strongly condemned the heinous robbery and urged both state and federal governments to spare no effort in identifying and bringing the culprits to justice.
Honourable Angbo Kennedy Agbogo extended his support to those affected, including local businesses, bank premises, and security units. He called on all citizens with valuable information to come forward and assist the security agencies in their investigations, emphasising the importance of peace, progress, and justice in the community. Angbo pledged to support those affected by the robbery, including local businesses, banks, and security agencies.
Additionally, the Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, expressed his condemnation of the armed robbery attacks. The Governor described the incident as a direct assault on the state, especially considering that it occurred during a security council meeting in Government House Makurdi. He offered his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and vowed that the criminals would be brought to justice.
He said, “It is an unfortunate development that people who were on duty, especially police officers, were shot and killed in cold blood by those mindless robbers. But they cannot get away with this. Already, security agencies are on their trail and must apprehend and bring them to justice”.
Governor Alia urged the people of Benue State to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities, emphasising the need for collective efforts to maintain peace and security in the state.
The entire community of Otukpo is left in shock by this audacious attack, and residents are hopeful that the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice to ensure the safety and security of the area.