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Mob sets bank ablaze, loots ATM

 

A riot policeman attached to a branch of Zenith Bank at Mpape, a suburb of Abuja, on Monday allegedly shot and killed a taxi driver and a female passenger.

Three other passengers in the taxi marked Niger XA 783 SRP were said to have sustained serious injuries and were taken to an undisclosed hospital.

The policeman was said to have fled the scene but he was arrested shortly after an irate mob had set the bank on fire.

Nine vehicles parked in the bank’s premises were also burnt while an Automated Teller Machine was vandalised, looted and then set ablaze by the mob.

Expended bullet shells littered the front of the bank when one of our correspondents visited the scene. It was also observed that the taxi had a thick pool of blood on the driver’s seat.

Many rubber strings, were also seen in the bank’s premises, indicating that the mob might have looted money from the bank.

A split air-conditioner was removed, and set on fire when it could not be taken away due to the confusion at the scene.

The intervention of the police, a detachment of the Brigade of Guard led by the Commander, Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, and the Federal Capital Territory Fire Service, saved the lives of the bank workers.

Most of the workers were taken out of the premises in a military pick-up at about 9 am, leaving one who was escorted out of the bank at about 9.55am.

There were two accounts of what led to the shooting. While one has it that the taxi driver dared to make a U-turn in front of the bank after he had been warned by the policeman not to do so, the other account said it was because he attempted to drop off a nursing mother in front of the bank.

The Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Mr. John Haruna, told journalists that the riot policeman at the centre of the crisis was in custody of the command.

Haruna added that the Nigeria Police Force “does not condone attacks on innocent citizens in any manner by any of its men.’’

“The policeman in this case is in custody; due process will be followed until justice is dispensed,’’ he said, adding that the case would be referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for necessary advice.

The Mpape Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Imran Balarabe, explained that he was at home when the Divisional Crime Officer alerted him to the incident.

According to him, he quickly dashed to the scene, only to see hundreds of angry people attacking the bank.

Balarabe said, “When I got to the scene, the whole place was filled with smoke. I had to call my men off from the scene because they could not control the situation.

“I asked them to go back and secure the police station to prevent hoodlums from taking advantage of the confusion to attack the station and steal arms.

“I called for reinforcement and the bank staff who were trapped in the building were eventually rescued and the fire put out by the fire service.”

The DPO explained that the information he had was that the gun went off when the policeman hit the butt on the taxi while ordering the driver not to park in front of the bank.

He stated that it was likely that the gun was not cocked.

Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be hired assassins have shot dead the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium, Akwa Ibom State, Edidem Robert Obot.

Obot, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, was murdered in his palace at Ikot Ekpene Udo at Nsit Ubium Local Government Area around 5pm on Sunday.

The gunmen numbering about three were said to have introduced themselves at the entrance to the palace as visitors on an appointment with the monarch.

On gaining access into the living room, they reportedly fired at the septuagenarian and one of his personal assistants.

While the personal assistant whose name could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report survived, Obot was not as lucky.

The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr. Sani Magaji, confirmed the incident.

-Punch

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