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Banks shut down operations in Benin, NSE flat

Employers urge protesters to allow businesses continue

Banks in Benin, Edo State, yesterday shut down operations over the inability of their staff to access their duty posts. The #EndSARS protest-ers had, as at 6a.m., blocked major roads within the Benin metropolis, preventing vehicular movement.

The roads are Oluko- Isihor-Ugbowo-Uselu, Ring road-Sapele, Ring road-Ekehuan, Aduwawa-Akpakpa-va, Airport, amongst others. Security men at the various banks visited along the Ugbowo and Uselu market axis of the state told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they had to shut down due to the absence of their staff. A bank customer, Miss Tina Jeremie, expressed displeasure over her inability to withdraw money from the bank.

“I had to trek from Isihor to Ugbowo for over 30 minutes to withdraw money bank was shut. “This is pathetic because I need to withdraw money to get some medications and also help a friend in need,” she said.

Jeremie advised the protesters not to lose focus of the protest and to desist from acts that could cause more hardship for the masses. Meanwhile, trading activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange were largely flat yesterday as #End- SARS protests continue to escalate across the nation, leading to market apathy. The protest has taken over the country with a negative impact on the economy and dampening investor confidence.

The stock market closed on a flat note as NSEASI closed at 28,658.31 basis points as against +1.11 per cent appreciation recorded last Friday. Consequently, the All- Share Index depreciated by 0.14 basis points to close at 28,658.31 index points as against 28,658.45 recorded last Friday’s trading session while market capitalisation of equities stood at N14.979 trillion last Friday to N14.979 trillion.

However, a turnover of 287.30 million shares exchanged in 5,132 deals was recorded in the day’s trading. The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 142.34 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,981 deals. Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in shares of UBA Plc. and Zenith Bank Plc. Also, the banking subsector boosted by activities in shares of Fidelity Bank Plc. and GTBank Plc. followed with a turnover of 54.55 million shares in 773 deals. Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that in percentage terms, International Breweries Plc.

topped the day’s gainers’ table by 9.94 per cent to close at N5.86 per share while Ikeja Breweries Plc. followed with 9.90 per cent to close at N1.11 per share. Cutix Nigeria Plc. added 9.88 per cent to close at N1.78 per share. On the flip side, Eterna Oil Plc. led the losers by 8.98 per cent to close at N4.46 per share while May and Baker Plc. shed 7.69 per cent to close at N3.00 per share. Academy Press Plc.

trailed with 6.90 per cent to close at 27 kobo per share. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged protesters to be peaceful and not harass other citizens going about their legitimate businesses. NECA Director-General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos. Olawale also urged the Federal Government to take cogent and convincing steps in addressing the genuine agitation of the citizens. “The on-going protest is legal and a fundamentally guaranteed right of Nigerians to draw government’s attention to the need to take drastic action in all areas of our national life. “It is also important that the economy should not be brought to its knees in the process.

“The economy is in tatters, facing the threat of a second recession and unemployment rising to unmanageable level, the need to stop the slide is not only urgent but important,” he said. Olawale said that a consequential effect of hindered capacity of businesses to function was higher unemployment rate. According to him, others include further reduction in disposable income of those left in employment and heightened insecurity with the risk of hoodlums hijacking the peaceful protest, among others. “There are fundamental parameters necessary for economic and national sustainability.

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