Daredevil armed robbers at the early hours of Friday broke into the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and carted away N3 million.
At least, 30 civil servants have been arrested and detained at the Alausa Police Station in connection with the robbery. Security men were at the building when the robbers broke into the ministry unnoticed, fuelling suspicion that the robbery might be the work of an insider.
The robbers were said to have gained access into the department through the ceiling while security men, including policemen were on duty and carted away large sum of money that was meant for the payment of allowances for non-employees of the Lagos State Government who assisted the state in rendering free invaluable services.
Sources blamed the robbery on an insider who would have given information about the availability of fund just weeks after ministry workers were groaning over non-availability of funds in the ministry.
Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Lawal Pedro said the incident occurred at night, adding that, the police have arrested 30 staff for questioning over the robbery.
According to him, the police would screen those arrested and ensure that the culprit were brought to book, wondering how robbers could gain access to the building without an insider giving out information.
“Why did the burglary not take place weeks before when there was no money and everybody was complaining. The incident could not have happened without an insider. All the security men that were on duty when the department was burgled are also being interrogated in addition to those working in the Accounts Department.
“I have giving my approval for thorough investigation of the incident despite pressure to sweep the matter under the carpet,” he said, adding that he would ensure that the culprits were punished accordingly.
“It is those who indulge in this kind of burglary that eventually graduate into stealing of billions. The money carted away was in the region of N3 million. Immediately they told me, I asked them not to enter the department since policemen would need fingerprints during the investigation.
“The money was meant to pay allowance to Nigerians who are used in ‘Probono’ Services, mediation, free legal services and others. Since they are not staff, the ministry evolved the idea of giving them allowance for volunteering their expertise in mediation and in other areas,” he stated.