A Customer Service Officer with a first generation bank at Mpape, Abuja, Larry Ehizo, has given details of how robbers gained access to the banking hall with his help during the botched robbery of a bank at the weekend.
An attempt to rob the bank was foiled by policemen and soldiers when one of the robbery suspects was killed and four others arrested.
Officials of the bank on duty on the fateful day are being held by the police for questioning.
The policeman on duty, who the robbers unsuccessfully tried to tie down, gunned down one of the invaders and called for security reinforcement.
According to Ehizo, who was paraded by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, the mastermind of the robbery, one Ernest (still at large), had threatened to kill him, his girlfriend and his family if he did not facilitate the robbery.
Ehizo, who has worked with the bank for about two years, said he drove the five robbers into the bank premises in his vehicle.
The 30-year-old graduated of Political Science from the University of Abuja, said Ernest promised to give him the proceed.
According to him, he declined the offer but Ernest insisted he must cooperate.
He said: “I met a friend (Ernest) in November and we had a discussion where we used to hang out and I said something after he complained about our services in the bank and we almost got into a serious argument and I told him that the only thing he would do is get angry and maybe not bank again with us.
“He (Ernest) said he was going to hurt someone and I told him not to do that. That the highest he could do was to maybe rob the bank to make them feel bad. I did not know he had that on record and he used that to threaten that I must take the people that he would bring into the bank.
“He threatened my family, me and even the people around me – even my girlfriend. After that, I was afraid to go to the police because he said even if I went to the police he had already informed his colleagues and because he is a cultist.
“That is when he brought them. I still begged him and he went as far as my family house and threatened to kill them. He brought them on that day that I should take them in and tell them what to do.
“He even followed us to the bank but escaped when they caught them. He insisted I took them inside the place in my car and that was the only thing I was supposed to do and leave the rest for them to do.
“I didn’t report to the police because of the threat. He brought his fellow cultists to my house and threatened me and my girlfriend. He said he was going to give them N7 million. He said I was going to get 20 per cent and I told him I did not want anything. He said I must collect it. I am a Customer Service Officer. I have been with the bank for over two years.
“If I had gone to the police I would not have been here talking now. Members of my family also would not be. He knows my family house and knows where I stay personally at Mpape. I did everything out of fear of being killed.
“Ernest is a customer at the bank. He comes around. There is a place I go to hang out in Mpape. He is a barman there. He sells drinks. On normal situations, we have sat down to have drinks. We discuss about football, family and how to move forward.”
Also 24-year-old Princewill Obinna, who led the robbers, said they did not expect any difficulty as they were assured by Ernest and Ehizo that it was going to be an in-and-out operation.
He said Ernest was a friend of his.
Obinna said: “I was among those people that robbed the bank. It happened that Mr. Larry invited us. Mr. Ernest met us and told us there is a job we wanted to do, but he would connect us to the person that had the work.
“I asked him who the person is. So he called me and introduced us to Mr. Larry, who told us that there is an event that he wants us to carry out that Ernest has been troubling him.
”I said what was the deal about and he said it was a bank. I was shocked and said I have never done such before. He said we should not worry that there is a vehicle that is tinted and nobody would see us and that everyone would be okay.
“The message came to me on Tuesday and the operation was on Saturday; so, we were just thinking about what they told us that it would be easy and they would give us money. They promised to give us N7 million to share. I coordinated the other boys.
“The ammunition we took there was a local pistol that our late friend (robber who was shot) brought. He said he would be the one to stand at the gate and that I should hold this one and threatened the mobile policeman.”
Obinna said he went for recruitment into the Army in 2017 and just a few weeks to their passing out parade, he was dismissed for medical reasons.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Bala Ciroma, said no money was lost in the robbery.
Ciroma said 985 suspects were arrested last year for various offences inclcuding armed robbery, kidnapping, cultisem/drugs, car theft, petty theft and fraud.
Also recovered during the period were 88 firearms, 118 ammunition and 63 cars.
The CP said: “I want to sound this note of warning to criminals that they have no place in the FCT. The Command has deployed proactive security measures to beat them at their game.
“The only option available to criminals nursing any thought of coming to FCT is to either repent and turn a new leaf or be prepared to face the full wrath of the law.
“As we advance into the New Year, I want to assure the public that the Command is making concerted effort to build on its numerous successes of 2019 and provide FCT residents with better service delivery in 2020.”