By Boluwaji Obahopo – Lokoja
Local hunters, men of the Kogi State Vigilante Services along with other security operatives on Sunday foiled an attack on the Okene Area Command of the Nigerian Police Force.
The gunmen, numbering over 30, stormed the Area Command but were effectively repelled, while explosives meant to destroy the command were immediately detonated by experts in the state.
Vanguard gathered that one of them was gunned down while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot injuries.
The state Police Command spokesman, William Aya, confirmed the attack.
Aya, in a statement issued on Monday, in Lokoja, said that the gunmen launched the attack around 10 pm on Sunday, February 6.
He said that the yet to be identified gunmen attacked the police formation with sporadic gunshots and explosives chanting ‘Allahu Akhbar’.
He however added that personnel on duty repelled the attackers and gunned one of them dead.
“This forced the attackers to flee before the arrival of back up teams from the neighbouring divisions,” the statement added.
Aya said that the state Commissioner of Police (CP) has ordered the immediate deployment of re-enforcement consisting of Counter Terrorism Units, Police Mobile Force, Intelligence team as well as Quick Response Unit along with the military and other security forces, to Ooene and environs.
Aya said that the team has been mandated to track and arrest the gunmen so that they can be made to face justice.
The statement quoted the CP as assuring law-abiding citizens of the state of their safety, saying there is no cause for alarm.
The CP further said that the command in synergy with other security agencies in the state will ensure a safe and secure environment for all to go about their lawful activities.
However, the Kogi State Government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said the counter-attack was coordinated by the Executive Chairmen of Local Government Areas in Kogi Central and the Senior Special Adviser on Security to the Governor in charge of Kogi Central, he noted.
The statement read, “The Kogi State Government wishes to report that the Okene Area Command of the Nigerian Police Force was attacked by gunmen numbering over 30 in the late hours of Sunday February 6, 2022.
“However, they were shown the strength and efficacy of the Kogi security architecture as the local hunters, men of the State Vigilante Service collaborated with other security operatives to spontaneously foil the attack.
“The superior firepower of the combined security network of the state ensured one of them was gunned down immediately while others ran away with various degrees of gunshot wounds. Two of their motorcycles were recovered as well as various arms and ammunition. Also, explosives meant to destroy the command were immediately detonated by experts.
“The onslaught against the gunmen was coordinated by the Executive Chairmen of Local Government Areas in Kogi Central and the SSA on Security to the Governor in charge of Kogi Central.
“This is the second time in less than two months that Kogi proved impregnable to criminals as tens of them lost their lives in the attack on Yagba West LGA of the state last December.
“The Executive Governor of the State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is renowned for stating that, ‘the criminals will come in their numbers but go back in their zeros’. The gunmen have been thoroughly given the Kogi treat.
“No innocent lives were lost, instead, the criminals were the ones that received gun wounds and lost one of them on the spot.
“We call on traditional medical homes and other medical facilities to report anyone with gun wounds to the nearest security formation as our local hunters are giving them a run for their money in the bush right now. We shall keep you updated on developments.
“The Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, wishes to assure all Kogites and residents of the state that he will do everything humanly possible to secure their lives and property.”