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HomeBanking and FinanceNaira scarcity crisis: Police says attacks on banks tantamount to robbery

Naira scarcity crisis: Police says attacks on banks tantamount to robbery

…As normalcy has been restored in the Mile 12 area of Lagos State following an early Friday unrest

The Nigeria Police Force has warned against attacks on banks and described such action as armed robbery.

This warning came on the heels of attacks on bank facilities in several parts of the country following the naira crunch.

But the Force spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi has cautioned against such, saying it will be resisted.

“We complain banks don’t attend to us yet we go to their facilities and set them ablaze, destroy ATMs. How do you want them to serve you better if you have destroyed their facilities?” he said in a recorded video posted on the NPF’s Facebook page Friday.

“I think we need to educate ourselves on what the law says about this. You don’t go to any bank, ATM, or financial institution to attack. It is criminal and tantamount to armed robbery. If you are caught in the act, you will be treated as an armed robber.”

“Even the ATM, as small as that machine is, has certain protections from the security agencies, particularly the police. it is an infrastructure that you don’t attack. If you do that, it is presumed that it is actually going there to rob,” Adejobi warned.

He also warned against attacks on police officers, appealing to Nigerians to desist from such as the Force wants to use the “minimum force” on people.

The spokesman called on Nigerians to be civil in their protests while citing the recent events in Edo, Delta, Ogun, and some parts of Lagos State.

“A protest must be coordinated. We can be civil and do it better,” he said, claiming that some of the protests have been hijacked.

“And these guys that come out are not interested in demanding their monies or requesting anything from the government. It is just to loot shops. You can see the clips showing that these guys are there to foment troubles. They have their targets,” he added.

Meanwhile, normalcy has been restored in the Mile 12 area of Lagos State following an early Friday unrest over the naira crunch.

Gunshots were reportedly heard in the area with many scampering for safety, according to footage on social media.

Some suspected louts in the area – Mile 12, Ojota, and Ketu – took over the Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway, attacking some commuters in the process.

But the Lagos State Police Command spokesman Benjamin Hundeyin said normalcy has been restored following the incident.

“Free movement of vehicles and people fully restored. Our officers and men are still on the ground to prevent any breakdown of law and order,” he tweeted on his handle. “If you see something, say something.”

The protest came hours after President Muhammadu Buhari said while the old N1,000 and N500 are no longer legal tenders, the N200 banknotes will still be in use until April 10, 2023.

He made the comment in a nationwide broadcast on Thursday where he also empathized with Nigerians over the crisis created by the naira swap policy of the Federal Government.

“To further ease the supply pressure, particularly on our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023, to April 10, 2023, when the old N200 note ceases to be legal tender,” he said.

Buhari lamented the volume of banknotes outside the banking system.

“The proportion of currency outside banks grew from 78%in 2015 to 85% in 2022. As of October 2022, therefore, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking System while N2.7 trillion remained permanently outside the system; thereby distorting the financial policy and efficient management of inflation,” the President said.

“The huge volume of Bank Notes outside the banking system has proven to be practically unavailable for economic activities and by implication, retard the attainment of potential economic growth.”

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