…shops, markets shut, streets deserted
The protest against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign policy took a dangerous turn in Port Harcourt on Friday as hoodlums destroyed three commercial banks.
The affected institutions are First Bank in Churchill and Keystone Bank along Aggrey Road both in the old Port Harcourt Township area of Port Harcourt on Friday afternoon.
The First City Monument Bank at Rumuokoro in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was destroyed by customers on Thursday.
It was learnt that customers had besieged both First Bank and Keystone Bank in protest, but the protest was hijacked by hoodlums from the waterfronts who stormed the banks.
First Bank at Churchill was the most affected, as the Automated Teller Machines were destroyed and stones were thrown into the premises, destroying several facilities.
Not satisfied with the damage, the hoodlums pulled down the gate of the bank, and forced their way into the banking hall as bank staff ran for their lives.
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The hoodlums then looted computer monitors, desktops, water dispensers and other items inside the bank, but their hope of finding cash was unsuccessful.
At the Keystone Bank along Aggrey Road, only the two ATMs were destroyed.
Following the rampage and destruction, markets, shops, boutiques and business premises hurriedly closed for the day, while residents ran into their houses and looked out from their windows.
Meanwhile, our reporter who witnessed the scene said policemen have taken over the entire Old Port Harcourt Township, especially Lagos Bus Stop and Churchill.
Three police patrol vans were stationed in front of First Bank to avoid further attacks, as it was learnt that the hoodlums had finalised arrangements to set fire to the bank.
The policemen shot sporadically into the air and chased the hoodlums into the Abuja, Bishop Johnson and Ibadan Waterfronts.
Some arrests were made, but the number cannot be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
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