Gunmen suspected to be armed robbers on Thursday shot dead a middle-aged man and dispossessed several passengers of their belongings on the Benin-Ore Road, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State.
It was learnt that the robbers, who struck at about 1 am, fired several shots at a bus, said to be owned by the Young Shall Grow Transport Company and marked “Lagos AAA 283 XM”.
The driver of the bus, Mr. Obika Orakwe, was said to have later slowed down the vehicle before he discovered that his conductor, identified as Onyekwere, had been killed.
The situation was said to have caused a gridlock which grounded vehicle movement around Okada junction for several hours, prior to the intervention of the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Haliru Gwandu; and the State Director of the Department of State Security, Mr. Ibrahim Hiliu.
The bus driver, who spoke to officials at the scene of the incident, said that the bus, which had conveyed passengers from Onitsha in Anambra State, was riddled with bullets.
Orakwe explained, “We left Onitsha around 10:30 pm, while we were coming, armed robbers attacked us immediately after Benin, heading for Okada. We managed to escape. But we decided to park somewhere because the shooting was too much; we discovered that the conductor of the bus had been killed.
“The robbers also robbed several vehicles close to where we parked, including Ezenwata bus and some small buses, and were shooting everywhere.”
On his part, Ogie told journalists the state government had drawn the attention of security agencies when received a distress report about travellers and motorists who had been left stranded due to the robbery incident.
The SSG noted, “We received the report of the robbery operations and I can assure you now that security agencies are going to increase their presence around here and across the state.
“We have the responsibility to make sure that our state is safe and everybody that passes here does that safely. We are going to increase security on all the major roads involving members of the communities, the army, police and others.”
The Commissioner of Police explained that the driver was wounded when the robbers shot windscreen of the bus but later died in a hospital.
“Apart from the conductor who lost his life, others are hail and hearty,” Gwandu said.
He added, “The command is battle ready to ensure that such hoodlums are brought to justice. We will apprehend them. Not only that, proactive strategy will be deployed.”