Hours after the Zenith Bank, UBA, First Bank, Union Bank as well as a police division in Uromi, Edo State were attacked, the residents are still in fear and unable to go about their businesses.
Uromi, the administrative headquarter of Esan North-East Local Government Area of the state and nerve centre of Edo Central Senatorial District was raided by armed robbers who stole millions of naira from the banks on Thursday.
Kongtongs Bello, the spokesperson of the command, said that two police personnel and many civilians lost their lives, adding that the commissioner of police, Phillip Ogbadu, has gone to inspect the level of damage done by the robbers to the community.
Businesses in Uromi
Uromi is one of the most populated areas in Esanland. It has a moribund Cassavita Industry, a higher institution called the National Institute of Construction Technology and Management (NICTM) and is reputed for farming cassava, pineapples, yam and many others.
Residents and business owners resident in the area are concerned that the raid may deter investors from coming into the area.
Last year, gunmen suspected to be kidnappers invaded the National Institute of Construction Technology and Management in Uromi and abducted three persons. The incident, thereafter, prompted Governor Godwin Obaseki-led’s government to launch a vigilante network known as “Atanakpa” for the Edo Central Senatorial District as part of measures to boost security.
“Insecurity as it is, whether banditry, robbery, is everywhere. For a very long time, we have not had a situation like this here. This shouldn’t be a deterrent for people to come to Uromi to invest, Friday Itulah, an indigene of Uromi and former speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, told BusinessDay in a telephone interview.
“Uromi is a nerve centre of Edo central senatorial district. So, I urge those who want to come over to feel free to come and invest. Apart from farming, we are into trading and manufacturing, and that attracted the avalanche of banks into this area.”
Itulah, while commiserating with the families of the deceased, condemned the attack and called on the security agencies to ensure the perpetrators are apprehended.
“Today is our market day. Our lives are in the hands of God and it is him alone that provides security. What happened yesterday was very unfortunate because there was no challenge posed to them. It was something they planned for a very long time and the security agencies were taken unaware”, he said.
Another resident said following the raid on several banks, fear has gripped residents and the majority will not open their shops for Friday’s business.
“We are afraid to open for the business of the day. Very few of us are out here to seek daily bread and it is risky. Also, this attack will make it difficult for us to access our cash at the banks,” he said.
Facts about Uromi
Uromi is not a local government. It is the seat of the local government council governing the Esan-North-East Local Government Area. The administration of the government of Uromi is divided into 11 wards.
Uromi Main Market operates in four-day intervals, but activities there are constant daily, from morning to late evening.
Uromi has huge tourism potential in its annual festivals Oto-Uromi and Amukpe, celebrated in July or early August.
Notable people from this local government area are, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Dr Robert S. Okojie, research scientist, NASA; Benita Okojie, gospel singer, actress and songwriter.