Hotelier, employees charged to court over Offa bank robbery
Proprietor and some employees of the hotel where suspected Offa, Kwara State bank robbers lodged before launching their attack, have been charged to court.
The accused were arraigned before a magistrate court in Ilorin, for alleged conspiracy over the criminal act of the robbers.
The hotel workers arraigned were the accountant, a receptionist, a room keeper and a clubhouse operator. Also arraigned were four lodgers at the time the suspected robbers also lodged there.
All the accused including the four lodgers are of residential addresses of the town. They were arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information to screen an offender.
The police who arraigned them said the offences contravened sections 97 and 167 of the Penal Code Law.
The police said on April 6, a team of operatives on investigation into the armed robbery attack extended their investigation based on intelligent gathering to the hotel located along Igosun Road in Offa with the view of securing information that could assist discreet investigation into the crime.
They said the hotel staff could not however satisfactorily give account of questionable lodgers in their hotel prior to the robbery incident by their failure to maintain or keep proper official lodgers register expected to be presented to the police and other law enforcement agencies on demand.
“Others found in the hotel during the investigation failed to give credible information to the police operatives to assist in the investigation concerning their observation in the hotel within the period in question,” says the Police First Information Report (FIR)
The prosecutor, Inspector David Wodi, told the court that investigation into the case was yet to be completed.
The defence counsel, Joshua Ijaodola, prayed the court to admit the accused to bail pending the outcome of the investigation as he submitted that the nation’s constitution presumed the accused innocent until the contrary is proved. The prosecutor did not oppose the application for bail as he left the bail to the discretion of the court.
The magistrate, Mrs. M.B. Folorunso, admitted the accused to a sum of N200,000 bail each and two sureties in like sum. She then adjourned the case till May 3 for further mention.
Meanwhile, bomb experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) command have been deployed to comb major areas in Lagos and Ogun in search for fleeing members of the terrorist Boko Haram sect.
This is to forestall any attack by members of the gang in the states. Suspected members of the sect are presently fleeing the North East because of the ongoing war against terrorism by the military.
Commissioner of Police EOD command, Gabriel Oyodele Oguntuase, made this disclosure during his maiden press briefing. Oguntuase, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said the officers have been fully briefed on what to do while on the field.
According to him, the deployment is to checkmate the activities of social miscreants, bearing in mind that the fight against insurgency and other criminal vices in the country can only be won through individual and collective efforts.
He urged officers and men of the command to endeavour to ensure proper and effective fortification of explosives magazines and storage facilities within their respective domain.
He noted that his deployment to the command came at a time when all security forces in the country are working round the clock to rid the country of terrorist/insurgents from their hideouts.
He said as field soldiers, EOD officers would not be relenting in their efforts to ensure that normalcy returns to troubled areas.
“It is gratifying to note that the war against criminals and criminality in our country has achieved appreciable level of successes even though we could still do more by putting in more effort to wipe out the menace of insurgency/militants who are always devising new means to beat us and other security agents in carrying out their nefarious act.