Ondo Police allay fears as POS Operators raise Alarm over Robbery Attacks
Operators of Point of Sales (POS) in Ondo State have raised alarm over what they described as being the targets or suspected armed robbers following series of attacks on their businesses.
Our correspondent who went round Akure,the Ondo state capital observed that many POS Operators close business between 6pm and 7pm for the fear of being attacked and losing huge amount of money.
There had been cases of robbery attacks on POS operators while some a lady had recently been attacked and killed.
In separate interviews with The Hope, they said, unlike commercial banks with several security measures, they only feel safe during the daylight.
The operators, who said they have become easy prey to suspected armed robbers since they are usually in possession of huge amount of cash to run their business and they cannot put in place any security measures of their own hence, forcing them to depend on the community security which, sadly has failed to protect their businesses.
A POS operator, Jerry Efoma revealed that in order to avoid robbery attacks, they had to close business before dusk.
Jerry said, “Although money security is guaranteed by the POS service you use, we are on our own when it comes to safety from armed robbers. So I resume by 9am when I can be guaranteed of daylight and the security of environmental activities and close at 6pm.
In this business, daylight is your security. POS stand has to be in the open because I’ve heard of cases where POS stands in corners are been robbed.”
Another POS operator at Oke Ogba, Akure, Mr Niyi Ajayi said “It is a big risk keeping the amount of money to run this business in the open as we do.”
He added that robbers sometimes come in disguise as customers only to end up robbing them silently. The high risk of getting robbed is why he does not keep a lot of money with him.
Mr Niyi went further that the fear of been robbed was intensified when a fellow POS operator was robbed and murdered at Oke Ogba last year.
Also speaking, a POS attendant revealed that she and her boss have to take precautionary steps in order to avoid been robbed.
In her words, “It is not really safe to sit with large amount of money every time. In order to secure ourselves my boss comes here before 4pm everyday to make calculations of the day transactions and collect the proceeds. She then takes the money to the bank first thing the next day”.
Other POS operators, who spoke with The Hope, said they have to open their shops in an open place to avoid being robbed, saying this gives them the advantage of his shop been secured by the community.
They said that they established their shops in open places to make it easy for them to raise alarm whenever they suspected any customer or noticed anything strange around them.
Reacting, the police said they have not received any case of robbery attacks on POS operators in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ondo state, Mr Tee Leo Ikoro in an interview said “For those operating POS,the advice I will give them is that, because they are holding cash, it doesn’t matter how much they are holding, what they need to do is to be vigilant at all times and watch the faces that come to them regularly and those that will come and go because some of these people are those that will come and study the situation and tell they gangs which place to attack.
It will be based on on how careful or careless such POS operator is. So if POS operators get free with everyone, they would not know who will eventually strike them.
Anytime they have so much cash that is up to #200,000 ,they should go to the nearest bank and save it first. It will be safer for them to have less cash than having so much to be carted away.
You can see the way POS is spread, it will be difficult for any police command to fix officers for them but we have regular patrols that stay on major roads in Akure.
We also have foot patrols for those areas we know that they are vulnerable. People can just come in with okada and run away. So we have foot patrol in almost every area ,especially in Akure here.
We have not been having cases of robbery attacks on POS operators like that . The few cases we have were fraudsters who will ensure money is transferred and they would run away.
But anytime they see any suspicious person,they should report at the nearest police station. That will help the POS people because once the suspects know they were security conscious, they won’t want to move close to them.”