Peter Dada, Akure
Customers of commercial banks in Ikare Akoko, the headquarters of the Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State, were disappointed on Tuesday as the banks abruptly shut down by midday due to the fear of an armed robbery attack.
This came almost a month after a gang of armed robbers attacked some bank branches in Ile Oluji, the headquarters of the Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo Local Government Area of the state, during which four persons, including a policeman, were killed.
It was gathered that the banks in Ikare Akoko stopped attending to customers around noon after receiving a security alert that robbers were planning to attack them.
A customer, who identified himself simply as Kareem, said, “The banks were under lock and key and denied customers entry, while some of the customers, who were already inside the banking halls, were hurriedly sent out by the security guards of the banks.”
A bank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the action of the institutions was to prevent loss of lives and property, adding that the security signal was for them to stop operation and not let anyone enter the banking halls again.
“We had to obey the instruction to stop work, because we didn’t want any attack on our banks. However, if the instruction comes again to open for operation tomorrow (Wednesday), we will open for customers, but if not, we will close until the coast is clear. It is very unfortunate that the issue of insecurity does not have a solution in our country, the official stated”
It was, however, learnt that shortly after the closure of the banks, police and army patrol vehicles were driven round the town, particularly in the areas where the banks were located.
The police Area Commander for Ikare Akoko, ACP Razak Rauf, confirmed the incident and said his men were on the alert to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
He urged residents of the area to go about their normal business.