More details have emerged as the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, said those behind Wednesday’s murder of the Director of Finance in Governor Dapo Abiodun’s office, Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi, are in-house.
PUNCH Online reported on Wednesday that Oyekanmi was gunned down while returning from the bank where he had taken a bullion van to withdraw some funds for the state.
In a telephone interview late Wednesday, Alamutu told our correspondent that the robbery and murder were premeditated, wondering how the armed robbers were fully armed with a sledgehammer to break into the bullion van.
According to him, the gunmen must have been well-informed by an insider that the deceased was heading for the bank to make withdrawals.
“From the information we have, it is obvious that it was premeditated. It was an in-house (thing). We have this feeling because, how did they know that they would need a hammer to break the receptacle?
“And they must have been lurking around the bank area, waiting for the man or he must have been trailed to that area and they must have had information that he was going to take a large amount of money from the bank. So, we are working on it.
“They (the armed robbers) came in a Toyota Corolla with a registration number yet unknown. They are about five, putting on hoods to conceal their identity. By God’s grace, we will do everything possible to ensure we get at them,” Alamutu disclosed.
The deceased Oyekanmi was said to have visited a branch of Fidelity Bank in Oke-Ilewo on Wednesday afternoon to withdraw a cash sum of N97.335m, and N15m from Sterling Bank, also in Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta.
On the Kuto flyover, the bullion van conveying the N112.335 million was reportedly accosted by the robbers and broken with a sledgehammer brought out of their Toyota vehicle.
Aside from Oyekanmi, the van had as its occupants, the driver identified as Lekan Akintoye and one other man named Peter Samson, but only Oyekanmi was identified and shot dead with an AK-47 rifle among the three.
The police boss confirmed that the bullion van was without any police escort at the time of the incident.
The attached mobile police officer, Inspector Rasheed Adegbite, who was supposed to be with the homemade bullion van was said to have travelled to Igbo-Ora in Oyo State on Tuesday without permission.
He has since been arrested for investigation, a viral police signal from the Ibara Police Divisional Headquarters said.
Meanwhile, reactions have begun to trail the circumstances surrounding the killing of the finance director.
A legal practitioner and Senatorial candidate in Ogun West, Femi Aina, has described the death of Oyekanmi as avoidable if the state government had ensured he went out with a police escort.
Aina, who queried the rationale behind the transportation of such a huge amount of money without a police escort, said the state commissioner of finance should by now be reconsidering his position.
He asked the family of the slain Oyekanmi to, if possible, consult a lawyer because all employers owe their employees a duty not to put them in harm’s way.
“Sending someone to the bank to go and collect over N100 million without a police escort is not good enough. Why can’t they call the police headquarters for a replacement, as part of the risk management? Maybe this guy will be here by now. Now their inaction has led to the death of someone’s father, uncle or even son.
“He was sent on what could be called a ‘killer errand,’ telling him to go and withdraw such an amount of money without police escort. And what are they even doing with such cash?” he asked.
Aina added that “the Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State should reconsider his position.”
While commiserating with the family of the deceased, the National Secretary, New Nigeria People’s Party, Olaposi Oginni, said, “It is obvious that something is wrong with the security architecture of Ogun State, most especially the police.”
Oginni described the attack as “a serious indictment” on the Ogun State Police Command, calling for “the immediate change of the leadership of the Ogun State security agencies to send signals and for the quick arrest of the security collapse of the state.”
He maintained that a broad day attack on the state’s bullion van a few meters to the Governor’s office is “unacceptable.”
As of the time of filing this report, there has been no update from the state police command, according to PUNCH.