An atmosphere of fear and anxiety has continued to envelop the Omu-Aran community, as the only commercial bank in the town, has yet to re-open for customers following the recent robbery attack on some banks in Offa.
The bank, which began skeletal services in January 2017, three years after a similar attack on banks in the community, had since the last robbery, closed shop.
The situation became compounded as the community was preparing for the funeral outing and thanksgiving service for Charles Ibitoye, its late traditional ruler, scheduled for Saturday, April 14.
In May 2013, robbers attacked three commercial banks in Omu-Aran, killing three persons and carted away an undisclosed amount of money.
One of the banks had to reopen in January 2017 after persistent pressure and appeal from the people of the community.
The community donated two Hilux vehicles to the police to tackle crime and woo other banks back to business.
Some bank customers had no choice but to travel about 75 kilometers to Ilorin, the state capital, to carry out bank transactions while the closure lasted.
A few weeks ago, one of the closed banks in the community embarked on a massive renovation of its building.
The bank, according to a source, was preparing to begin banking business by Monday this week.
This development had generated excitement among the people, especially traders, transporters and marketers.
The situation, however, remained tense in the community, as the only bank in operation, had shut its door to customers while the second had stayed away purportedly due to the Offa bank attack.
The development had forced bank customers to engage the services of the local money transfer operators in the community.
All efforts to speak with the bank officials proved abortive as no one was found around the premises of the bank.
Abbey Adelodun, a businessman, described the development as pathetic and unhealthy for business.
“Where do we go from here, we are in the process of calling on the only bank in operation to extend its services,” he said.
“But the refusal to open for business since the Offa attack has dealt a big blow to our business activities.”
Francis Obayomi, a civil servant, said he was forced to engage the services of point of service (POS) operators before he could withdraw money from his account.
“I had no option than to use the service of the local money transfer operators to withdraw from my salary account,” he said.
Joseph Abegunde, area commander, Police Community Relations Committee, (PCRC) in Kwara south federal constituency, lauded the deployment of police mobile unit to the area.
He pledged the committee’s readiness to assist other security stakeholders in the area of crime prevention and combat.
Abegunde expressed optimism that with the presence of the police mobile unit, the banks would have a rethink and open for business.
Bisi Adeyemi, the president, Omu-Aran Development Association (ODA), also expressed the association’s readiness to partner with security agents and other stakeholders in ensuring a safe banking environment.
Adeyemi, who lamented the closure of the only bank in the community, urged the people to remain calm and exercise patience.
“We will not leave any stone unturned to see that the banks re-open for business, ” he said.
He also called on the Federal and State Governments to consider the community in the deployment of some armoured personnel carriers (APC) to assist in the protection of lives and property in the area.