Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday paid a visit to the Benin City office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as several other commercial banks in the city to assess the extent of damage following Wednesday’s protest and attack on the banks’ buildings.
Governor Obaseki, immediately after he left the CBN, went to Wema Bank along Akpakpava Road, and next was at Access Bank where he interacted with the bank manager and asked if anyone was hurt. In response, the manager said no one was hurt, because the mob couldn’t gain access into the building.
The commercial banks the Governor visited along Akpakpava road include Wema Bank, Access Bank, as well as UBA along New Benin-Upper Lawani Road.
During his interaction with residents of Akpakpava Road, they said the touts who caused the mayhem came through Igbesamwan Road.
The residents told Governor Obaseki that before the attack on banks by the hoodlums on Wednesday (even on Tuesday), Wema Bank, Sterling Bank, Polaris Bank, Globus Bank, all along Akpakpava Road were collecting the old naira notes and paying cash to customers across the counters and through ATMs.
In his response, Governor Obaseki said: “Anybody that has pictures or videos, should send them to us so that we can identify some of them”.
Obaseki proceeded to New Benin Market where he also assessed the damage done at UBA Bank along New Benin-Upper Lawani road.
The state governor had earlier in the day met with the Director of the Benin branch of CBN and some POS operators in the state, and they strategised on how to disburse cash around the state capital to ease the pain of the masses.
During the interactions, Godwin Obaseki stressed: ”Clearly, what happened yesterday as you can see, is beyond anger, there are political undertones. Like you said, how did somebody who did not leave in Ugbowo come in to attack POS operators and banks in Ugbowo?
“So, these are the issues the security agencies are following up on. Fortunately we have a lot of footages of people who went around ransacking and I will get as many of them as we can.
“The image being painted by some members of the public about POS operators is wrong and must be corrected. If there are people or your members who are undertaking unorthodox practices, if you find out that you have members who are charging more than they should, or more than is stipulated by law, or the regulation setting you up, then we must have a system to deal with those members internally first.”
“We believe that the incidence of yesterday like I said had a certain purpose, As you can see, as we said in the press conference yesterday, it didn’t happen by accident. We know that towards elections like this, the practice by the opposition party is to create disenchantment.
“During my last election, you know how many markets they burnt. So, this is the same trend, this is what they are trying to achieve in Edo today; to create chaos, to create disaffection in the minds of the people.
‘We would like to find as many of them as possible immediately. So, we can all go into the various market places and their booths of operations, we would provide security for them so that we can begin to dispense cash and offer services to our people in Edo.”
In swift response on Thursday, the Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha; Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Hon. Crusoe Osagie; Director, Risk Management (CBN), Dr. Blaise Ijebor;
CBN Benin Office Branch Controller, Mr. Renner Jumbo, supervised the immediate dispensing of N5,000 cash withdrawal through Edo State Government identified POS operators at Oba Market, Ekiosa market and Uselu market in Benin City. The exercise continues on Friday, 17 February, 2023.
Traders and residents in Benin City who took advantage of the laudable gesture were able to make a single N5,000 maximum withdrawal, at N100 charge as stipulated by the law.
Some of the traders and residents who benefitted from the N5,000 withdrawal were grateful and thankful to Governor Obaseki of Edo State.