By our Correspondent.
Business activities at the Afikpo branch of First Bank of Nigeria PLC have been paralysed. This followed the sealing-off of the bank by the local government COVID-19 Taskforce team for failing to obey the state safety measures of the disease.
In an interview with journalists in Abakaliki, the local government chairman, Hon Oko Enyim said that the local government during its stakeholders meeting last week directed all banks, restaurants, drinking joints and other business areas to adhere strictly to the state government safety protocols on preventive measures against the spread of the virus.
Hon Enyim stated that when the team arrived at the bank, it was observed that none of the preventive measures instructed to be adhered to by the state government was put in place by the bank.
According to the Council boss: “It is very unfortunate and regretable that despite the warnings of President Mohammadu Buhari and the governor of Ebonyi State for commercial centres to put in place and ensure strict adherence to preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus in the state, some of them decided to be a clog in the wheels of government progress”.
“Our Taskforce team this morning visited banks in the local government to monitor the level of compliance. On arriving the roundabout, Eke Market branch of First Bank of Nigeria, it was observed that none of the directives was adhered to”.
“When the team made attempt to gain access to the bank, the security personnel at the bank did not allow the team to gain access and all efforts made to speak with the management of the bank, fell on deaf ears”.
“Before now, there has been several warnings for the bank to ensure that their customers wear facemasks and ensure social distance while transacting their business, but none of the warnings was taken into consideration by the bank”.
“So the Taskforce team today have to seal off the bank and stopped the bank from carrying out its operations today. We made it mandatory today that we will not allow them to operate until they adhere strictly to all the preventive measures instructed by the government”.
Speaking further on the sealing of the bank, the Development Centre Coordinator of Afikpo North, Hon. Mrs Amauche Otunta alleged that when the team made effort to gain access to the bank, security personnel attached to the bank attacked them and tried to stop the team from sealing off the bank.
She noted that when the team visited, Zenith Bank Plc, Afikpo branch, “the bank management complied immediately. We spoke to them the bank asked the crowd to leave and when the team went back to ascertain if they still complied, there was full compliance to all the measures”.
According to her, “the measure was taken to serve as a lesson to others who have refused to comply with the state government directives”.