In the face of riots and rising violence and attacks on some banks in parts of Ogun State, the Ogun Government has assured bankers in the state of adequate protection with a promise to continue to engage the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and proffer lasting solutions to cash shortage.
Some youths in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Tuesday, ran out of patience and resorted to violence over their inability to access the new naira notes and petrol.
The crisis, it was gathered was began at a branch of GTbank in the Asero area of Abeokuta, where customers had queued since 4am but could not withdraw cash.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, however, gave the assurance of security in Abeokuta on Wednesday during a meeting with the Bankers’ Committee.
Okubadejo is also the Chief Economic Adviser to Ogun Government.
Okubadejo expressed the determination of the state government to address the scarcity of the naira, saying the situation was hampering economic activities in the state.
The commissioner explained that the state government was fully prepared to forestall any destruction of banking facilities.
Okubadejo said that the unfortunate incident involving the destruction of some banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) was as a result of frustration caused by the unavailability of cash to the citizenry.
He noted that the state governor had earlier held a meeting with the Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Ogun, Mr Wahab Oseni.
He said that the governor was concerned about the security of, not just the bankers but of all lives and property.
The commissioner said that there were frantic efforts at ensuring the safety of every individual in the state.
Okubadejo said that the state would continue to encourage peace and protect lives and property.
He urged residents of the state to exercise patience, saying that the crisis would soon be a thing of the past as well as desist from attacking banks and bankers.
Okubadejo said that the state was always ready to provide adequate security, saying that the banks should make the new naira notes available to the people.
“The CBN has indicated that it would give money to the various banks. So as a state, we are using this opportunity to appeal to the Bankers’ Committee to ensure that people have access to their funds.
“It will assist in the smooth running of economic activities across the state,” the commissioner said.
In his remarks, the Leader of the Bankers’ Forum, Mr Adeniran Oladele, appreciated the state government for its responsiveness.
Oladele said that the meeting earlier called by the state government with the CBN had positively reduced the impact of the crisis.
He said that the crisis was caused by misinformation which had led to the banks losing revenue as a result of the closure.
He called for aggressive sensitisation of the public on the availability of the naira notes, saying it would go a long way in reducing public unrest.