Robbery attacks: Banks to convey cash with aircraft

By By Alex Olise   |   11 May 2010   |   2:27 pm  
TO check the spate of attacks on bullion vans conveying cash for banks in the country, security agencies might have advised financial institutions to acquire special aircraft for such operation.

Top security source disclosed to The Guardian that many banks across the country are currently rushing to acquire the special aircraft to avert losing large amount of money to dare devil armed robbers who now target bullion vans on the roads instead of direct attacks on banks, due to the new security facilities installed in virtually all branches of the 25 recapitalised banks.

The source disclosed further that the police high command had given nod to any bank that is capable to acquire such aircraft as it will go further to reduce the stress and danger faced by policemen who accompany bullion vans on daily basis to different locations.

Under the new arrangement, banks which acquire such aircraft can station them in strategic locations and will be used to convey large cash from any bank branch that had large deposit instead of calling on bullion vans.

Banks and police authorities were at wits end last year, following series of attacks unleashed on bullion vans carrying cash.

While banks lost billions of naira, police authorities were always on the mourning mood as officers continued to fall to bullet from men of the underworld.

During the tenure of the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, no fewer than 300 policemen were said to have lost their lives to dare-devil armed robbers who specialised in attacking bullion vans conveying money for banks and other organisation.

At a stage, the former police chief had to summon bank’s top managers to fashion out ways to stem the tide.

At end of the meeting, it was agreed that sophisticated bullion vans made in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe were more suitable for the banks.

The thinking then was that the bullion vans could resist onslaughts from any weapon, especially the dreaded AK 47 riffles which were more in use by robbers and security agents.

But recent developments in the Eastern part of the country have shown that robbers now attack the vans with new mode and succeeded without any resistance.

In a recent operation that occurred in one of the Eastern states, the armed robbers, after firing several shots on the bullion van, without success, decided to use a trailer truck to block the bullion van.

They went ahead to use another trailer to smash the bullion van killing all the occupant including police escorts and driver, then all the cash in the van open and they parked everything into their vehicle and zoom off leaving the trailer drivers who were forced at gun point to carry the operation.

The latest rush by banks to acquire aircraft to convey their money was prompted by the last week ugly incident where no fewer than 10 policemen were killed during attack on a bullion van.

The robbers during the operation had field day as they stole large sums running into millions of naira. But another top policeman who spoke to The Guardian said the Special Aircraft are very expensive and this is the major reason most banks are still taking risk of using bullion vans.

“The aircraft is safer at this point in time, it will help police and banks,” said the source.



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