By Daniel Adaji
The robbery of First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc branches in Ankpa, Kogi East last Tuesday, September 6, 2022, has caused severe cash shortage in the geopolitical zone.
An eye witness, Julius Adukwu, who is a resident of Ankpa, told The Insight that “The robbers invaded Ankpa at about 1pm on Tuesday and robbed for close to two hours, shooting sporadically. They first attacked a police station, about 100 metres away from First Bank Plc. They then proceeded to rob the banks and some Point of Service (PoS) operators.”
There used to be naval officers stationed in Ankpa, but at the time of the robbery they were not close by
The eye witness further told The Insight that, although there were mobile police officers stationed around the banks, they could not withstand the superior fire-power of the armed robbers.
“There used to be naval officers stationed in Ankpa, but at the time of the robbery they were not close by. However, when they arrived, they could not resist the robbers because of the robbers’ superior weapons. The vigilante groups on ground also ran for their lives because they were not as armed as the gunmen.”
The gunmen left many wounded and two dead, a lady and a man
In spite of their efforts, unconfirmed report said the robbers could not penetrate the strong room of the Zenith Bank, but the branch manager was said to have been shot in the leg.
The gunmen left many wounded and two dead, a lady and a man.
Bank robbery was second most gruesome in 10 years
The robbery, the second time in 10 years, has created difficulties in accessing cash in Kogi East, as Ankpa, a bustling commercial town in the geopolitical region, has been the financial hub where businessmen and individuals from Olamaboro, Omala, Dekina, and Ankpa Local Government Areas access cash.
There is not a single bank in the whole of Olamaboro
For instance, there is not a single bank in the whole of Olamaboro, hence most business owners and residents patronize Ankpa banks for their financial activities.
In the past, there used to be a branch of First Bank Plc in Abajikolo, the headquarters of Omala Local Government Area, but in 2020, the bank was attacked by armed robbers and looted. Since then, that branch of First Bank Plc has not re-opened.
The two other towns where banks are operational in Kogi East are Idah and Anyigba, but both towns are tens of kilometres away from the other local governments.
As at Friday, September 9, 2022, all banks in Ankpa were still closed for business
As at Friday, September 9, 2022, all banks in Ankpa were still closed for business, putting pressure on the PoS operators who have increased what they charge customers for cash withdraw. Even other banks, like Unity Bank Plc and Polaris Bank Plc, are shut down due to the attack.
The robbery on September 6, 2022 was the second gruesome attack on banks in Ankpa in 10 years.
Kogi East has become the bedrock of kidnapping on farms and highways in recent months
Why Navy, policemen and vigilante failed to defend the banks
Businesses have been short of cash, a week after the robbery attack
Banks are vulnerable to robbery due to poor security measures
Nigerians need to become literate about what to do if caught in bank robbery incidents
The robbery incidence is a big economic blow to business communities in Olamaboro and Ankpa. The banks will need to put infrastructures in place in order to resume activities again. It is claimed that this robbery attacked has come exactly ten years after the last attack.
Meanwhile, the social media have been awash with several unverified claims about the robbery incidence.
It is not clear what the government is doing to forestall such attack in the future. However, The Insight learnt that security operatives have started to collaborate with the affected banks to investigate the crime, while the naval officers now patrol the area.
It is not clear if the police have made any arrests.
In recent times, Kogi East has been plagued with kidnapping on farms and on highways.
Last week’s robbery attack has further instilled fear in the heart of Kogi East residents.
How to tackled bank robbery
A retired Commissioner of Police and former spokesperson of the force, Frank Odita, in a Thisday Publication is quoted as saying “armed robbery, just like any other crime, is a product of the poor management of the nation’s economy resulting in many idle youths parading the streets”.
The answer is to overhaul our crime fighting machinery
Speaking on the solution to the problem, Odita said: “The answer is to overhaul our crime fighting machinery through capacity building and motivating security operatives through insurance and also giving them living wage that will put them above corruption and make them more patriotic.”
Commercial banks also have to come up with their own solutions on how to fill in view of the inadequacies of the nation’s security machinery.
Another security expert, Yinka Jayeola is reported by Thisday as saying that banks need to do more in securing the lives of both their staff and customers by investing more in securing their environments.
According to him, the current arrangement where banks concentrate their security personnel at the entry points makes their premises vulnerable to attacks from robbers.
banks need to do more in securing the lives of both their staff and customers
“Everybody knows the power house of every bank. The moment you enter any bank the first set of people you see are the security personnel almost at the entrance and these people are always the first target of armed robbers whenever they strike. The robbery in one of the commercial banks in Imo State two years ago should have served as eye-opener to our banks. The moment the bandits entered the bank they went straight to the security post where they engaged the policemen on duty. Since that incident, I expected that banks would device means to spread their security personnel in and around their premises.
‘Government must reposition nation’s security agencies’
While calling on the government to reposition the nation’s security agencies and make them combat ready to fight crime in the country, Jaiyeola advised banks operating in the same area to come together and fund special security teams to police their banks in order to further safeguard lives of both their customers and staff.
It is very clear that banks cannot always rely on conventional security agencies to give them cover during crisis
“It is very clear that banks cannot always rely on conventional security agencies to give them cover during crisis periods. So, banks operating in the same area can come up with their own special security arrangements. Three or four branches of banks operating the same area may come together to fund a security team that will patrol the vicinity area of operation and provide reinforcement for security men stationed at the branches in case of attacks,” he said.
In addition to beefing up security in and around banking premises, experts said that bank customers must also take certain precautions to avoid falling casualties during bank robbery.