There was pandemonium and panic Friday in Asaba, Delta State capital when daredevil armed robbers numbering over five attacked a bullion van around Koka junction along the Asaba-Benin Expressway and carted away a yet to be disclosed amount of cash, running into as much as several millions of naira.
According to an eyewitness account, the heavily armed hoodlums, who came in a grey Sienna car, were seen shooting sporadically before overpowering the security personnel serving as escort to the bullion van said to belong to United Bank for Africa, (UBA), and thereafter took possession of the van and emptied its vault and zoomed off to an unknown destination.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the operation which lasted several minutes, saw people scampering for safety as the sporadic shooting increased to scare away people, though no life was lost. It was not however clear where the van was coming from and going to when the incident occurred.
A middle-aged man who narrowly escaped the armed robbers' bullets that left his car severely damaged, told our correspondent that "I want to thank God for saving my life. I witnessed how the armed robbery incident started. The whole incident started around 12noon at Koka junction along the Asaba-Benin expressway. The mobile policemen that were escorting the bullion van were overpowered and the driver of the bullion van quickly escaped."
"At this junction, the robbers quickly seized the van and emptied it before leaving. The sporadic shooting by the robbers made people running for dear lives. The incident also caused a serious hold up along the ever busy expressway. Before the police could arrive the scene the robbers have zoomed off with their Sienna car with serious gunshots into the air. I would have been a dead man by now if that bullet had touched me," the eyewitness said.
Our correspondent, gathered that, shortly after the successful operation, some policemen believed to have come from the Delta State Police Command drove the bullion van to the A Division Police Station, Asaba where it was parked for further investigation.
A police source who confided in our correspondent disclosed that the successful armed robbery operation was carried out with insiders connivance.
Several calls put across to the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Andrew Aniamaka, were rebuffed but when contacted as at the time of filing in this report, the state commissioner of police, Zanna Ibrahim said he has not been properly briefed and pleased for more time.