The continued closure of commercial banks in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, in the wake of the violent EndSARS protests in the city, has left many bank customers stranded and frustrated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that banks in Abakaliki closed for business on Monday, when the protest assumed a violent dimension, with the torching of private and public property.
A NAN correspondent, who visited some automated teller machines (ATMs) in the city, reports that they were not dispensing cash, an indication that they were not loaded with cash. It was learnt that banks decided not to open to public to avoid being attacked by hoodlums.
The protesters razed the Central Police Station, Onuebonyi and destroyed public buildings as well as private and public vehicles in the city.
NAN also reports that major roads in Abakaliki were yesterday barricaded by security operatives deployed in strategic locations in the city to help bring the situation under control.
A cross-section of the residents has decried the alleged hijack of the otherwise peaceful EndSARS protest by suspected hoodlums.
Speaking in interviews with NAN, they called on the security agencies to take steps to bring the crisis to an end.
A bank customer, Mrs. Grace Okome, told NAN that the protest had lost its essence and now poses threat to the nation’s economy and security.
“Look at how we are suffering. Even in your street, you are not safe. Crime is now on the increase.
“The worse now is that there is no money because the banks are not working and one cannot withdraw money through the ATMs.
“The protest has done more evil than good to the people. Everybody is frustrated.
“Even when you have the money, it’s still difficult to buy anything because of the high cost of commodities in the market,” Okome said.
Also, Mr. Chimaobi Okafor regretted that he could not withdraw money to meet his needs because the ATMs were unable to dispense cash.
“I have visited four to five banks but none is working,” he said.
“The protesters are heartless. How can they be destroying private and public property in the name of protest.
“Positive change does not come in an atmosphere of chaos and disorder.
“See how people are suffering. From curfew to where we are now, no access to our own money in the bank.
“Please, they should end the protest to move the state and country forward. The protest has disrupted governance at all levels,” Okafor said.
– The Nation