Residents of Ikirun, Iree, Ila, Oyan, Okuku among other major towns in Osun Central Senatorial District of the State of Osun have sought the intervention of the state government in facilitating the return of commercial bank operations in their towns.
The residents, who noted that the non-operation of the banks has affected the growth of their businesses and economic activities, said government’s due intervention will aid their businesses from dying.
Investigations by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that banks in the affected towns were shut due to the spate of robberies.
The medium noted that since the only three banks in Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government were raided in 2014 and 2016, the financial institutions have refused to resume operations in the town.
This is just as the two commercial banks in Iree which were robbed on August 5, 2021 have since remained shut till the time of filing this report.
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On March 11, 2011, Wema bank in Okuku was robbed and has remained shut since.
But the Wema Bank in Iragbiji, which was robbed on September 28, 2021 has resumed operations.
The fear of being robbed forced management of the banks in Ila and Oyan to shut operations after the attacks on the financial institutions in Iree, Iragbiji, Ikirun and Okuku.
Findings also revealed that while several efforts have been made to bring the deposit money banks back, the leadership of financial institutions in the country have repeatedly sought reassurances from the government of the safety of their officials and infrastructure if they return.
“We Went Through Hell During Cash Crunch”
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the “helpless” situation was further complicated with the recent cash crunch that hit the country due to the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government.
A resident of Iree, Mr. Abideen Olabisi, told our correspondent that he had to visit Osogbo, the state capital thrice a week during the cash crunch to get money.
Olabisi, a businessman who noted that the cash crunch affected his business badly, added that the non-proximity of the banks worsened the experience.
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He said: “It was very tough for us. Ever since the 2021 bank robbery incident, we have not had it easy. Since there are no operational banks in Ikirun, we have had to always go to Osogbo to carry out our banking activities. The no-cash period was far worse. We did not have banks around and still there was no cash. I leave Ikirun at 5am to make it early to the state capital. It was not encouraging at all.
“We cannot but beg our Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke to intervene in the matter. They should provide security for the banks so they can come back. We are really suffering for it. Some of us cannot do without cash.”
Corroborating him, a pepper seller at Oja Oba, Ila-Orangun, Mrs Rachael Akinola appealed to the state government to come to their aid.
Mrs Akinola while commending efforts of the present administration in improving the security of the state, urged it to do more so the banks can return.
“The impact of banks in the economic system of any society cannot be overemphasised. For those of us, residents whose business transactions is reliant on daily income, we will be very happy if banks in Ila and neighbouring towns resume operations.
“You can imagine us going to Osogbo for banking activities. You can imagine the stress that we go through. It is a very stressful experience. We just urge our government to help us.”
The residents are optimistic that with the reassurances of Governor Ademola Adeleke that is government is taking steps to ensure the security and well-being of the people, the issue of the dearth of banks in Osun Central will soon be a thing of the past.