Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team have arrested one of the four robbery suspects declared wanted for attacks on banks in Offa, Kwara State.
The suspect, Michael Adikwu, an ex-policeman, was said to have been dismissed in 2012 by the Kwara State Police Command for allegedly aiding the escape of some robbery suspects.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Adikwu, until his dismissal, was attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the state command.
Adikwu was said to have been arraigned in court and remanded in a prison, where he spent three years before he found his way out and formed a robbery gang with others.
He was reportedly arrested on Tuesday in a town in Kwara State by the DCP Abba Kyari-led IRT operatives, who acted on a tip-off from members of the public who saw Adikwu’s picture among those declared wanted.
A robbery gang had stormed some banks in Offa on April 5 and killed scores of people, including nine policemen.
They reportedly carted away millions of naira during the operation which lasted for about an hour.
Although the state Commissioner of Police, Ado Lawan, put the number of fatalities at 17, the Operations Commander, Vigilance Group of Nigeria, Offa, Kwara State chapter, Wasiu Adepoju, said his men counted 50 corpses.
Leaked Closed Circuit Television footage of the incident revealed when the robbers blew up a security post of one of the banks as they intermittently brought out bags suspected to be containing money out of the premises.
While about 20 suspects were said to have been arrested, the Kwara State Government placed a bounty of N5m on the other fleeing robbers.
In a statement on Friday, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood, released the pictures of four members of the gang captured in the CCTV footage and declared them wanted.
Moshood stated that the assailants were being monitored by the International Police and would soon be apprehended.
A senior police officer disclosed to PUNCH Metro on Wednesday that one of the wanted robbers was tracked down on Tuesday.
The source said the arrested suspect, Odikwu, was a police corporal and was dismissed from the Force in 2012 after his alleged involvement in the escape of some robbery suspects.
The source said, “He (Adikwu) was a SARS operative at the Kwara State Police Command. He used to fraternise with robbers. There was a robbery that happened in Kwara State about six years ago. The robbers killed somebody and escaped. The police were able to arrest those robbers.
“He collected money from those robbery suspects and released them. Later, the robbers were rearrested and they confessed that he aided their escape. He was arrested, tried in an orderly room trial and dismissed.
“He was charged to court together with the robbery suspects and was in prison for three years. He and some of the robbers were able to manoeuvre their way out of the prison and formed a robbery gang.”
Another source said a team of detectives got a lead that Adikwu was staying in a hideout in the state and swooped on him.
“The lead was given to the police by an informant. His hideout was cordoned off and he was arrested. He was apprehended by the IRT operatives in a community in Kwara State,” the source added.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Kwara State Command, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, said arrests had been made, but he had yet to receive information on Adikwu’s arrest.
He said, “What I know is that the IRT team and the command are investigating the matter and have been making arrests. The Force PRO will come out with other information at the right time.”
The FPRO, Moshood, could not be reached for comment as calls to his line rang out.
He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to his telephone as of press time.