Ibikunle Ogunleye, one of the five persons standing trial over last year’s bank robberies in Offa, Kwara state, has told an Ilorin high court that the police deliberately killed Michael Adikwu, suspected mastermind of the attack.
The robbery led to 33 fatalities, including pregnant women and 12 police officers.
Police initially described Adikwu as “sectional gang leader” when he was declared wanted in connection with the robbery, and was accused of killing 22 persons, mostly at the Offa police station.
He was later arrested after still pictures from CCTV were released to the public.
Testifying before the court in a “trial within trial”, Ogunleye claimed an officer simply identified as Vincent killed Adikwu.
He said the policeman attached to the police intelligence response team was known as “Mr Torture”.
“They brought the late Adikwu to implicate us but when he said he had not met any of us in his life, Mr Torture shot him to death,” Ogunleye had said.
The police tried to cover up the death of Adikwu, a dismissed policeman.
A police source had said Adikwu — who confessed to have killed several policemen as a revenge for his “unfair” dismissal — was shot dead in the presence of the other suspects in order to coerce confessions from them.
But Jimoh Moshood who was then force public relations officer, had dismissed the report, saying Adikwu was in custody.
“Michael Adikwu is in police custody. You know he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. So the fire arms that were carted away, he is helping the police in investigation to recover them…there is a state in the south-west where they kept him… I can’t mention the state. He is in one of the south-west states,” he had said.
When told that a source confirmed Adikwu was killed in custody, the police spokesman said “ Who killed him? There is nothing like that… we will parade him soon.”
WHO IS MICHAEL ADIKWU?
According to information earlier released by the police, “Micheal Adikwu, is a native of Apa LGA Benue state, a dismissed police CPL (corporal) who was arrested, tried and dismissed from the force and charged to court by the police in 2012 in Kwara state for criminal conspiracy and aiding the escape from lawful custody of armed robbery suspects.
“He served three years in prison and subsequently found his way out in 2015. He became a vicious and notorious gang leader of armed robbery syndicate wanted for several armed robberies in Kwara and other states of the north-central and south-west.”
He confirmed being dismissed in an interview with Daily Trust Saturday.
“I was formerly working with the Kwara State Police Command, Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). I was dismissed for allowing detained suspected armed robbers to walk. It was not my fault, it was a gang-up against me,” he said.
“Go and ask, I was one of the finest policemen at SARS, Kwara State Command. I undertake most of the difficult tasks. But for just one mistake which was not my fault, I got kicked out of the force. I was not given fair-hearing, so I now hate everything about the police.
“The killing of the policemen was not a mistake, but quite deliberate. I see them as all the same.”
He said it took him about three weeks to plan the Offa heist.
Adikwu said as a resident, he knew Offa like the back of his hand.
Describing how he met other gang leaders, he said: “I got to know a good number of them while I was working in SARS. Initially, they were a little afraid, but I was able to sway their minds.
“After the meetings, we took a tour round the bank during which were able to identify the security points, which were very loose. The next step was getting enough guns and ammunition, so we put together guns belonging to various gangs.”
He said he suggested smoking bank security out of their post with tear gas.
“We arrived the bank very early on the day of the operation with each person manning his own area. We agreed that only five of us drawn from the various gangs will enter the banking hall,” he said.