Jubilation as Ecobank reopens in Omu-Aran 5 years after closure
It was jubilation and commendation for the management of Ecobank as its branch in Omu-Aran, Kwara, on Monday re-opened for skeletal services after its closure in May 2014, following a robbery attack.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that excited customers besieged the bank located on Aperan Way as early as 8.00 am for banking transactions and were attended to by the newly posted members of staff.
The bank management had earlier indicated its readiness to re-open the branch in a letter addressed to the Divisional Police Officer in Omu-Aran.
A copy of the letter signed by Bolade Okanlawon, Customer Service Manager and Victor Inyang, Area Manager, Kwara/Osun and made available to NAN reads in parts:
“We write to formally inform you that we will be commencing banking operations in our Omu-Aran branch on Monday 23rd December 2019.
“This is coming after over five years of suspension of operation in the branch due to the last fatal robbery incident in 2014.
“We humbly request all security logistics be put in place to guarantee the safety of our operations and pledge our full cooperation in that regard”.
The bank and two others were attacked by armed bandits in 2014, resulting in the killing of three persons while an undisclosed amount of cash was 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 students.
It had in November 2018 only activated its Automated Teller Machine services outside the branch premises for customers in preparation for full banking services which commenced on Monday.
However, First Bank on its part began banking operations in 2017, three years after the robbery attack, operating from 8 am to 2 pm, following intense pressure from the people of the community.
The community in its bid to woo the banks back to business, a few months after the incident, bought two Hilux security vehicles for the police in order to enhance their patrol and surveillance operations.
The management of Ecobank had commenced renovation of the bank’s building in a bid to join the First bank around April but was forced to abandon the plan following another robbery attack in Offa.
The residents, especially bank customers, in separate interviews with NAN, described the re-opening as “heartwarming, unprecedented and a welcome development’’.
“The re-opening of Ecobank is a big relief to us and we are very happy about it.
“The workers are fully on the ground, especially the cashier, I just posted some money successfully now, that’s to tell you they are back to business,’’ Akeem Adelodun, a civil servant, said.
Mrs Funmilayo Obaduna, a trader, said she was at the branch to make enquiries, adding that she was promptly attended to by staff at the customer service.
“We have been looking forward to the re-opening of the bank’s branch, especially when they commenced ATM services last year.
“Having the bank now open inside the town is a welcome development and a big relief to us,” she said
Another customer and secondary school student, John Adeniran, said the re-opening of the main branch would reduce frequent visit to the bank’s cash centre inside Landmark University premises for banking transaction.
“It has not been easy going to Ecobank cash centre inside Landmark University, it’s always with a lot of stress going through the institution’s security check in a bid to ascertain genuine customers.
“But with the main branch now opened, we are very happy and we commend the management for its magnanimity,” he said.
Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, the traditional ruler of Omu-Aran and the Olomu of Omu-Aran, described the reopening as a splendid Christmas gift from Ecobank management.
“We have been on this for a while and kudos must be given to the Olomu-In-Council, Omu-Aran Development Association (ODA) and more importantly, our illustrious son, Bishop David Oyedepo, for their full support in making this a reality.
Hon. Raheem Olawuyi, the member representing Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency, praised the bank’s management for acceding to the yearnings and aspirations of the community and its teeming customers in the area.
He pledged that his constituency would give necessary support to security agencies 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 branch.
He gave an assurance that the association would not relent in extending necessary assistance toward a safe and conducive environment for banking operations to thrive.
An official of the bank, who did not disclose his name as he was not authorised to speak to the press, told NAN that the branch was still in the process of normalising its operation for improved service delivery.
He disclosed that the branch would only be opened to customers from 10 am to 12 noon for now, and this would be reviewed as operations stabilise.