Residents of Auchi in Edo State have called for the reopening of three commercial banks shut in November 2012, after a robbery attack on them.
The residents said the call was necessary following the difficulties they face in accessing funds and carrying out banking transactions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that three commercial banks in the town were shut after some armed robbers attacked them on November 26, 2012, killing 10 people.
The attack was one in the series of such incidents in Auchi within a short period and the indefinite closure of the affected banks since then had forced customers to travel to other cities for their banking needs.
The situation made customers to spend long time in queues at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) points in the five banks still operating in the town to collect money.
Some desperate residents turn up at the available ATM points as early as 5.30 a.m. to stay on the queue.
A resident and lecturer at the Auchi Polytechnic, Mr. Bartholomew Edigan, however, said that the early rush had led to robbery attacks on many people.
“I can tell you that many have lost their money because they wake up early to beat the rush and end up losing such money to thieves,” he said.
Another lecturer, Mr. Wasiu Abdulbukoye, said that the services being offered by the ATMs were not encouraging, saying that “most times network will not be available or the machine will not dispense cash.”
Alhaji Abdulahi Mohammed, another resident, said that the bank managements were often indifferent to customers’ complaint of poor ATM services.
He appealed for improved ATM services, stressing that “the best thing is just to reopen the shut banks.
“While we sympathise with the banks over the frequent attacks, we also appeal to them to consider the masses and reopen the shut branches and those in operation should strengthen their ATM services.
“We are really suffering and this has affected so many things.
“People abandon many things to come to the ATM and most times they end up not making any withdrawal due to one machine problem or the other,” Mohammed said.
He said that the problem with banks and the ATMs were affecting students of Auchi Polytechnic. Most of the students, he added, move from one ATM to another around the town to collect money for their upkeep.
A student, Miss Ese Aifesehi, said “most times, we move around the town in search of a functional ATM and it always turned out to be wasted efforts as the machines never work.”
Meanwhile, the Auchi branch Chairman of Bankers Forum, Mr. Bash Sanusi, has promised that something would be done to improve ATM services.
Sanusi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that efforts were being made by the shut banks to reopen them.