The recent bank robbery in Otukpo has prompted Senator Patrick Abba Moro, representing Benue South Senatorial District, to criticize the security agencies in Benue State, attributing the incident to a failure of intelligence.
During the robbery, which occurred on Saturday, October 20, the Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, John Adikwu, along with three other police officers and four civilians, lost their lives. Senator Moro expressed his dismay that a group of daring robbers could infiltrate the town with a convoy of vehicles and motorcycles and operate for nearly an hour without encountering intelligence-based counterattacks from the security forces.
He emphasized the presence of multiple security checkpoints in the area, including the police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, and the Department of State Services. However, none of these agencies received any advance information about the 60 armed men arriving in two Hilux vehicles to launch an attack on Otukpo. This absence of intelligence and response from the security apparatus raised serious concerns.
Senator Moro addressed questions from reporters regarding the necessity of state police for community policing. He explained that his previous opposition to the idea was due to the financial challenges faced by many states at the time, making it difficult to pay salaries and meet essential needs. He was concerned that adding the expense of state police could further burden state governments.
In his motion titled “Otukpo Robbery Attack: Urgent Need for Investigation and Intervention,” Senator Moro expressed his distress over the audacious robbery, which lasted for more than an hour with minimal resistance, effectively holding the entire town hostage. The robbers not only caused loss of life but also made off with millions of Naira from the banks and seized arms and ammunition from the police command.
The Senate passed resolutions calling on the Nigeria Police and other relevant security agencies to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the invasion and the tragic loss of innocent lives. Additionally, the Senate urged these agencies to unravel the mysteries surrounding the lack of intelligence and preparedness during the invasion. Finally, the Senate appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to promptly provide relief materials for the rehabilitation of the Otukpo Police Command.