Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin, has expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of security equipment provided by banks for the protection of policemen on escort duties.
He expressed sadness over the inability of Nigerian bank executives to provide modern quality equipment that would protect policemen on escort duties from being killed by armed robbers.
Ogunsakin, while addressing bank executives at a bankers’ forum at the headquarters of the state police command, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, yesterday, said, “It is not the number of policemen escorting cash that matters, but the quality of equipment available to them.”
Ogunsakin expressed regret over the killing of two policemen by armed robbers at Igwuruta last week.
He said: “The policemen were pulled out from their bank guard duty by a high ranking bank official and made to escort him with some cash, about $400,000. The men were ambushed and killed by robbers who also carted away the cash.”
The commissioner of police pointed out the difference between policemen on guard duty and those who serve as special escorts. He stated that the former were to act as stationary units, while the latter were released based on written request to the police headquarters and should have on them body armour and also move in Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).
He emphasised that: “Special escorts should be the only ones to escort cash and banks should endeavour to make provisions for Armoured Personnel Carriers. This command will no longer tolerate indiscriminate killing of policemen who are posted on normal guard duty.”
Ogunsakin also informed the bank executives that information as regard the movement of large sums of money should be restricted to top bank executives who are involved in the transaction.
On the killing of the two policemen who were escorting a Hilux van containing $400, 000, at Igwuruta, Ogunsakin said, “we are still investigating the case but from previous experiences, we have seen that this kind of issues have to do with poor management of information mostly from low ranking staff who have no business knowing about the cash movement.’’
The Chairman of the bankers’ forum in Rivers State, Paul Okoroafor, recommended that the police should give necessary information on the repairs and management of police-owned APCs considering NSA regulations. He added that it would be of benefit to all concerned if policemen and bank officials were compelled to put on body armour as well.