Residents of Owo and Ikare Akoko communities in Ondo State have cried out to concerned authorities to help restore banking activities in the communities.
The residents are groaning over the current hardship they face while carrying out banking transactions. This, they attributed to the various incidents of armed robbery attacks suffered by financial institutions in the communities early this year.
It will be recalled that some dare-devil armed robbersstormed two banks in Ikare-Akoko on January 14, killing several innocent people and security personnel, and leaving the bank defaced.
Similarly, the ancient town of Owo recorded another black Thursday , two days to the Presidential election when heavily armed robbers attacked four of the five banks in the town, killing several people including bank officials.
The affected banks in the communities have consequently refused to open their doors to “customers” since the ugly incidents occurred due to the fact their structures were destroyed by the bandits.
However, residents of the two ancient communities are as a result made to pass through the stress of having to travel down to Akure, the state capital to carry out banking activities. This has affected both the old and the young in both communities.
Even the elites, who rely on the use of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) have to equally travel to the state capital to make any withdrawal or perform any form of transaction on the machine.
Some of the residents of Owo who spoke with DAILY POST expressed their grievances over the way they had to travel up and down to make even the smallest transaction.
One Mr. Kehinde Akinola, who lives in Owo said the development was already affecting commercial activities in the towns.
Another resident of Ikare-Akoko, Mrs Aina Oyeleye complained of the agony people pass through to do banking transactions .
She said even for those who need to withdraw N2000 from the ATM , they would still have to pay about N1000 transport fare to Akure to make the transaction.
Madam Kikelomo Bobola, who is a trader in Owo said the non-operation of banks in the town was seriously affecting her business.
She said she could not stay in the shop beyond 2pm, especially when huge amount of money was on ground, saying she would have to abandon the shop and travel all the way to Akure to deposit the money.
The trader said the stress has become too burdensome that most market women have taken ill and closed shops.
Although , some people have attributed the non-operation of the banks to fear of another attack by armed robbers, the police authority in the state have allayed such fear.
In a statement signed by the command spokesperson, Mr. Wole Ogodo, he said it is not true that the banks have not opened due to armed robbers threat.
He said the command was committed to ensuring safety of lives and property of the people in the state.
Mr. Ogodo said the insinuations that some banks in Ikare and Owo towns could not open to customers due to threat from robbers was untrue.
He said the banks that recently attacked Ikare and Owo towns have not been able to open to customers because of the inability to renovate them.
The PPRO said that the ondo state Police Command under the leadership of CP Isaac Eke had since put in place all necessary security arrangements to ensure that residents and banks across the state go about their lawful businesses without fear of threat from any quarters.
He said ” such intelligence arrangement are not to be placed in public domains.
The command noted that the Ikare and Owo robbery were only unfortunate, saying the Police should be commended for its gallant approach against the armed robbers.
” The security operatives rose immediately to challenge the scores of robbers that came to rob in Owo and succeeded in killing some of the robbers and arrested a few of the alive.
” cache of weapons and cash carted away from various banks by the robbers were recovered.
” The tight security of the state has nit suffered lapses since the assumption of office of the present Commissioner of police.
” The successes recorded so far as regards to the security of the state can be traceable to the strong synergy between the Commissioner of police and sister security agencies. Symbiotic relationship with members of the public, robust relationship and constant interaction between the state government and security Chiefs in the state .
” These assertions could be attested to in the just concluded general elections as there was no major violence in Ondo state compared to other state where elections were characterized with killing of people, burning of houses and kidnapping.
” The Ondo state police Command assures the good people of the state of adequate protection of lives and property and enjoins anybody with useful information that can assist police in nipping crime in the bud should come up with it: such information would be treated with utmost confidentiality” the statement added.
All efforts to speak with bank officials on this development proved abortive as they directed our reporters to their headquarters in Lagos State.