The long wait for the trial of Offa robbery suspects is over as the court began trial yesterday.
The hearing which began yesterday had a prosecution witness, Inspector Yusuf Dauda, open his evidence and tendered as exhibits some ammunition, vehicles and car stickers allegedly used in the April 5, 2018 robbery operation in Offa, Kwara State.
It would be recalled that thirty-three people including nine policemen were killed in the incident, which involved five commercial banks while an undisclosed sum of money was stolen from the banks.
The five people standing trial in the robbery case includes Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran.
They were charged with armed robbery, illegal possession of fire arms and murder.
Testifying before the court presided by Justice Halimat Salman, Inspector Dauda who said he was an exhibit keeper at the Kwara State headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Ilorin claimed that on April 10, 2018, a former divisional police officer in Offa Local Government Area, CSP Danjuma Adamu, handed to him some weapons and ammunition allegedly used in the robbery operation.
Led in evidence by Prof. Wahab Egbewole (SAN), a private prosecutor, Dauda said the exhibits included 39 expended 7.6mm ammunition, two expended cartridges, four used bullets, one live 5.6mm ammunition, one cartridge safety box on which Ikoyi South-West, Lagos, Nigeria was written; and a damaged Padlock.
He also said that on April 15, 2018, Inspector Hassan, attached to the Inspector General of Police rescue team, also brought one Lexus Jeep on which a sticker bearing “Saraki “ was written with its key, a Compressor Mercedes Benz and four stickers bearing “Saraki.”
The prosecution tendered all the items as exhibits in the case.
Another witness, Inspector Hitila Hassan, attached to the intelligence unit of the IGP, said he was one of the officers that investigated the robbery operation and stated that he arrested the five accused persons standing trial in the case.
He said the robbery was conceived and planned by Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye and the late Michael Adikwu, who also supplied the ammunition and led the robbery operation on April 5 in Offa.
He said the meeting for the robbery operation was held in Ajase-Ipo and Oro town on April 2 and 3, 2018 respectively before it was executed on April 5, 2018.
Hitila said it was the CCT video clip footage that gave out the identity of the persons that participated in the robbery operation in Offa.
The police officer said that in the course of investigation, the police discovered that three vehicles: a Mercedes Benz Compressor belonging to Akinnibosun, a Volkswagen Audi 80 belonging to Adikwu and a Nissan Primera brought by other people that participated in the robbery but now at large were used for the operation.
He stated that in the course of investigation, Ibikunle Ogunleye confessed that he killed two of the robbery victims when they attempted to apprehend him while the operation was ongoing while Niyi Ogundiran and Adeola confessed that they killed two and five people respectively.
Hitila said two of the accused persons confessed that it was Adikwu who killed all the policemen because according to them, Adikwu shouted on top of his voice at the police station that “the Nigeria Police has offended him by dismissing him from service and he would take revenge.”
Justice Salman adjourned the case for further hearing till February 19 and 20, 2019.
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