Residents of Akure were on Wednesday thrown into panic following rumours that some bandits had invaded the Ondo State capital to rob some banks.
The development forced commercial banks in the city to quickly shut down operations at about 11am.
This came barely two weeks after some robbers attacked two banks in Ile Oluji, Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo Local Government Area of the state, and killed four people including policemen.
Shops and restaurants in Akure, particularly those at Oja Oba, Alagbaka, Oke Aro, Oyemekun and Oba Adesida Road were forcibly shut by their owners who fled for safety alongside the customers.
Motorists abandoned the routes to the areas where the banks are located.
A bank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that rumours of some bandits attacking banks in Akure had been on since last week.
The source said, “We have been hearing the rumours that robbers are in the town and may attack any of the banks. Today (Wednesday), another security report came that robbers might attack the banks so we had to be proactive and quickly shut our gates.”
Our correspondent observed that police and soldiers were immediately deployed to patrol the city’s major streets.
Some police officers were seen searching some people along Oyemekun Road
Many bank customers who could not withdraw inside the banks resorted in using the Automated Teller Machine and the Point of Sales Service to withdraw their money.
Spokesman for the police in state, Femi Joseph, said there was no robbery incident anywhere in the state.
He said, “We make bold to say that the bank robbery story is not only false and mischievous but also wicked and lacks substance as no such incident happened anywhere in the state.
“We urge the good people of the state to disregard this rumour as it is nothing but a blatant lie from the pit of hell. We are everywhere across the state to deal with any manner of crime or criminality.”