By Kayode Olarewaju
The Offa community in Kwara State on Thursday handed over
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the ultra modern 68 Mobile Police Squadron Base built by the community was handed over to the IGP by the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Okikiola.
The ceremony, which took place at the parade ground of the barracks, was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; while Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed was represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Hamza Bello, among others
In a welcome address, the Oloffa said following the robbery attack, he contacted the IGP who informed him that the incident occurred largely due to the lack of adequate manpower.
He said the community, under the aegis of Offa Descendant Union, resolved to mobilise funds to build the barracks to forestall re-occurrence in the town and surrounding communities.
The Oba said when he informed the IGP about the decision of the community to build the ultra modern barracks and hand it over before the end of the year, the Police boss doubted the possibilitys considering the huge amount of money involved.
“On April 5, exactly 267 days ago, dare devil armed robbers invaded our community, went into our banks carted away monies, leaving in their trail sorrow, tears and blood.
‘Thirty three members of the community were killed in cold blood, among them a pregnant woman and children, while some sustained injuries in varying degrees.
“The singular event has been adjudged as the cruelest armed robbery and worst case in Nigerian history.
“What we are inaugurating today is a sacrifice borne out of the sweat of our people,” Okikiola said.
He said Offa sons and daughters home and abroad donated money for the completion of the N700m barracks project, constructed in seven months.
NAN reports that the project, which is on a wide expanse of land on the outskirts of the town, comprises one Administrative Block of 16 offices, computer rooms, guard house, communication room, 200 capacity conference room and a mini cell.
The barracks also comprises three-bedroom commandant quarters, and Guard Residential quarter comprising 44 flats of two bedrooms each for rank and files.
Also in the barracks are: armoury house, guard house and communication room, perimeter fence wall and gate, 500KVA generator and two boreholes
There is also an epitaph in commemoration of the 33 victims of the April 5 armed robbery attack on the town
The Oba, who described the project as the first in the history of the nation, noted that Offa is renowned for community development projects.
He recalled that in 2014, when armed robbers struck the community and the Police raised the issue of mobility, his people donated seven hilux buses to various security agencies.
The monarch urged the IGP to make provision for school and hospital in the new barrack to complement the efforts of the people.
He also commended his subjects for their timely response in building the ultra modern barrack.
Gov. Ahmed who said the state was saddened by the robbery incident, commended the Offa people for continuing the age long history of community development.
He said it was commendable that the community realised that security was the business of all and took the bull by the horn.
The governor called on other communities to take a cue from the Offa people by initiating community projects to assist the government.
He disclosed that the state had also completed the construction of the Divisional Police Headquarters it promised the town after the robbery incident and would soon be commissioned.
The IGP, who was represented by the Commissioner of Police in charge of MOPOL, Lawal Jimeta, described the barrack project as unprecedented and laudable, adding that it would assist the Police in providing adequate security for Offa and its surrounding communities.
He assured of prompt deployment of MOPOL men to the barrack to help in curtailing banditry, armed robbery and other forms criminality in the area.
NAN reports that the ceremony which was attended by prominent Offa indigenes witnessed cultural performances, Police drilling and hoisting of the squadron flags.