Following the much talked-about Imo State robbery incident in February, the state police command apparently released a statement detailing how the incident happened. But as the video circulated online during the week, Nigerians were quick to point out the sharp contrast between the police version of the event and what was seen in the video.
For this reason, many readers have attacked the police harshly, while calling for Iboko to be honoured as a hero.
In the statement signed by Andrew Enwerem, the spokesperson for the police in Imo, the command refuted reports that the robbers killed some people before making away with their loot.
In fact, on Friday, Enwerem reiterated this to our correspondent.
“I can tell you without doubt that nobody was killed in that robbery. As I speak to you, no one has come to report to us that they were robbed on the bank premises that day. So, we cannot say the robbers made away with money,” he said.
However, here are some disparities between that statement and what the video showed:
“The four-man robbery gang who arrived the bank at about 3.10pm in an ash colour Toyota Camry car immediately started shooting but were confronted with stiff resistance from police personnel on guard at the bank,” the police statement said.
But the video shows the robbers arrived the bank in a black Hyundai Elantra.
“The Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, who received the report personally mobilised and led teams of police personnel to the scene in a frontal confrontation. At the end of the shootout, three policemen sustained various degrees of injury while one of the robbers was gunned down,” another paragraph in the police statement read.
But the video only showed a policeman, who has now been identified as Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko, confronting the robbers in a gun duel. There was also no other policeman in sight in the video.
In fact, a full minute after the robbers left the scene without any rush, their felled comrade was clearly seen gasping for breath in the video, but there was no police team in sight.
Later reports of the incident showed pictures of the police commissioner with an entourage inspecting the scene of the robbery. It is unclear at what point he got there.
The police also said, “One AK47 rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition and three magazines were recovered from the hoodlums.
“More of the robbers would have been fatally injured if not but the crowd who were scampering for safety, which restrained the police from shooting innocent people.”
But while the video showed people indeed scampering for safety, the only resistance they met was Iboko.
Nigerians have been merciless as they criticised the police for this disparity.
“It just shocks me how shameless the @PoliceNG was with that statement. The officer probably died but they’re busy claiming glory.” Al-ameen Yaqub, said on Twitter.
“Disappointing and shameful. But not unexpected. I just hope this is a statement to another incident and not this one on the CCTV,” Epum Michael also tweeted.
“Wow, what a statement. Feasting on every little opportunity to score high marks and outshining the brave officer who fought bravely,” Onyegbula @akahara, also said in reaction.
Momoh De’Medici said, “They are talking about the CP and other operatives but forgot to mention the police officer who shot back and killed one. He’s a hero. The incident report doesn’t seem to match what we see in the video and did the CP take a rifle and personally go after the robbers? No.”
Another Twitter user, Henry @henryoamen, said, “I wish you could publish this so that people can see how terrible our police force is. So the police just lied to everyone. Very sad.”
Prince Mcmekus tweeted, “This is absolutely wrong. Proof of police force false reporting. Same way an innocent person will be labelled a criminal or armed robber.”
It also became clear that the police did not expect the CCTV video to be leaked.
Enwerem told Saturday PUNCH that he did not know how the video got out as he said the police could not have made it public due to the fact that the suspects were being pursued.