By Olaleke ASHAFA
Ecobank branch in Omu-Aran, Kwara, closed since May, 2013, following an robbery attack has began skeletal services, TBI Africa reports.
A correspondent reports that, although the bank had yet to throw its gate open to customers, the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) had been activated and functioning.
Scores of customers were seen queuing up to make transactions on the ATM’s when TBI Africa visited the bank’s premises along Aperan Way in the metropolis on Tuesday morning.
The bank was among two other banks attacked by armed bandits many years ago, resulting in the killing of three persons and an undisclosed amount of cash carted away in the process.
Prior to the re-opening of the bank’s main branch in the town, the bank only maintained a cash centre inside the premises of Landmark University, specifically for the students.
First Bank began skeletal operations in 2017 three years after the robbery attack, following intense pressure from the people of the community.
The community in its bid to woo the banks back to business, few months after the incident, bought two Hilux security vehicles for the police in order to enhance its patrol and surveillance operations.
The management of Ecobank had commenced renovation of the bank’s building in a bid to join First bank around April but was forced to abandon the plan following another robbery attack in Offa.
The residents, especially banks’ customers described the re-opening as “heartwarming, unprecedented and a welcome development’’.
“We are gradually going back to the good old days as far as banking is concerned in Omu-Aran. This re-opening of another bank is a big relief to us and we are happy,’’ Azeez Abiodun, a civil servant, said.
Mrs Esther Omobolanle, a trader, said she had been anxiously looking forward to the re-opening of the bank’s branch in order to continue her transactions with the bank.
“I was forced to open another account with First Bank when the bank refused to open after the robbery attack but I am the happiest person today as the bank has showed its commitment to fully start operation, ‘’ she said.
The Chairman of Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara, Mr Muyiwa Oladipo, praised the bank’s management for acceding to the yearnings and aspirations of its teeming customers in the area.
He pledged its administration’s unrelenting support toward ensuring adequate protection that would enhance safe banking operations for bank customers and generality of the people.
Chief Bisi Adeyemi, President, Omu-Aran Development Association (ODA), on his part, expressed the community’s appreciation to the management of the bank for its magnanimity in re-opening the bank’s branch.
An official of the bank, who preferred anonymity, said that the bank was already in the process of mobilising its staff in order to commence full banking transactions in the branch.