- Commercial banks in Ondo North senatorial district of Ondo state were shut to customers on Tuesday, July 10
- This is due to the massive deployment of police personnel in the state to Ekiti
- Over 30,000 police personnel have been deployed to the neighbouring state due to the July 14 governorship election
A report by New Telegraph indicates that commercial banks in the four local governments in Akoko area of the Ondo North senatorial district of Ondo state on Tuesday, July 14, closed operations.
According to the report, the banks took the decision due to the redeployment of policemen guarding their facilities to Ekiti state for All Progressives Congress (APC) political rally.
The banks took the measure as the withdrawal of policemen from Akoko area in 2015 led to bank robbery in Ikare-Akoko in Akoko Northeast local government where policemen at the station were killed.
The policemen from the state were deployed to Ado Ekiti on special duty to provide security for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders of the ruling APC, who were in Ekiti state, for the political rally in support of the party and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Many of the customers who wanted to transact business with the affected banks were turned back while the banks were under lock and key. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the areas were said to have been massively besieged by many customers who were unable to withdraw in the banks.
An official of one of the affected banks, who spoke with reporters, explained that the fear of possible attack of armed robbers informed the decision of the banks not to open for operation.
His words: “The banks did not open because there were no policemen to provide security for them. All of them (policemen) have been sent to Ekiti state to provide security for Mr. President. If you come to Akoko today (yesterday) you will find very few policemen in the towns, all of them are now in Ekiti for a political rally.
“It has happened before in 2014, when policemen were deployed for a political rally. It was on that day that a gang of armed robbers struck at the banks, killing many people and stealing money. So we don’t want such to happen again at our banks.
“I believe, tomorrow (today), if the policemen are back to their duty posts, we will open for customers to transact, but today, it is very risky to open banks in these areas. We don’t want armed robbers to take the advantage of police absence.”
However, the Ondo state police spokesman, Femi Joseph, said the policemen deployed to Ekiti state could not substantially affect the operations of the bank.
According to him, there were policemen in mufti on ground to provide adequate security for the concerned banks.
His words: “I don’t know why the banks did not open. We have policemen on ground for their security. It is true that some of our men were sent to Ekiti state, but not those that were guarding banks. But those policemen on ground were not in uniform, so many people don’t know them.
“We know the importance of the security for banks and we can’t joke with it. So the banks should go on with their business, no cause for alarm.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Senate leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, on Tuesday, July 10, said the 30,000 police personnel deployed to Ekiti state for the July 14 governorship election was unacceptable.
Na’Allah, an APC senator from Kebbi state wondered why large number of policemen should be deployed for an election when the authorities could not deploy 10,000 policemen to secure the lives of people in Zamfara state, who have been attacked by bandits in recent times.
The senator, who was speaking while leading the debate on his bill that sought to repeal the Police Act and re-enact the Police Reform, said such action was not part of the APC manifesto.
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