Ekpoma bank workers urge action on banditry

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Bank workers in Ekpoma in the Esan West Local Government Area of Edo have vowed to paralyse commercial activities in the area, due to incessant armed robbery attacks, the News Agency of Nigeria has reported.

The workers threatened total shutdown of all banking activities, including Automated Teller Machine services in the area if the incessant attacks were not checked.

The Chairman of the Ekpoma Branch of the Bankers Forum, Mr Raphael Ibodeme, made the announcement while speaking with newsmen in Ekpoma on Saturday after a meeting of the forum.

Ibodeme said that banks which had been shut in the area for over a month would remain closed until there was reasonable assurance of security in the area.

Ibodeme said the meeting was held, following incessant bank robberies and the problem of insecurity in the area, noting that the latest robbery incident last month had led banks in the area to close shop.

A communiqué released after the meeting, said that banks in Ekpoma observed that inadequate security in the town was largely responsible for the incessant bank robberies.

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The meeting lamented the significant reduction in the number of Joint Task Force (JTF) operatives drafted to the area notwithstanding the monthly dues being paid by the banks for this purpose.

The forum also decried non-utilisation of the N500, 000 paid to the police and the Edo Government by the banks to effect repair of Armoured Personnel Carriers to be stationed in Ekpoma to combat bank robbery.

There had been three robbery incidents, involving four banks in Ekpoma within the past one year.

NAN reports that apart from the millions of naira stolen in the robbery operations, several lives were also lost during the incidents.

Meanwhile, the Ekpoma Divisional Police Officer, Mr Amos Apadoja, has condemned the action taken by the banks.

He said that the action taken by the bankers was regrettable, especially now that concerted efforts were being made by security agents in the area to combat crimes. “I am surprised at their action because it was for this reason that the state’s Commissioner of Police came to Ekpoma last week,” he said.