Banks shut down in Benin over attacks

Godwin Obaseki Edo

Banks in Benin, the Edo capital on Thursday, halted their services to customers over the destruction of some of their facilities on Wednesday.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who went around some commercial banks in the Benin metropolis, observed that they were under lock and key.

NAN observed that security guards were manning the gates of banks while efforts to get an official response from some of the banks proved abortive as officials declined comments.

A few bank customers who were seen outside some of the bank premises, lamented their inability to withdraw cash.

Mr Peter Idahosa, a bank customer, while expressing displeasure over the vandalism, noted that the innocent citizens would be the ones to suffer more.

‘We know people are angry that they cannot access their hard-earned money from the banks, but it is very unfortunate that banks’ facilities were destroyed.

“This situation of the banks not working will worsen the present cash crunch in the state.”

Point of Sale (POS) agents in the city centre also shut down their operations, due to attacks on their facilities as well as a lack of cash to give to customers.

NAN reports that some angry residents on Tuesday took to the streets to protest their inability to make withdrawals from banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and POS.

Some of the protesters in the process, attacked and destroyed bank facilities, including ATMs and vehicles.

Four persons allegedly lost their lives during the protest which lasted for several hours across some major roads in the state.

Some of the banks attacked include United Bank for Africa, Unity Bank, Polaris Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank and some microfinance banks.

NAN also reports that banks along Ugbowo Road, Akpakpava Road, and Sakpoba Road were mostly attacked by angry protesters.

However, the Nigeria Police Force has commenced a show of force across a major street within the Benin metropolis.

Also, security agents comprising Police, NSCDC and Army have taken over the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), office and its adjoining roads.

The Akpakpava Road leading to the CBN office was barricaded with restrictions of movement around the area.