Banks Shut Branches over Customer Attacks

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Because of an increase in client attacks, some banks are closing their branches while the naira shortage worsens.

The Lagos State Police Command had previously warned that certain groups were preparing to use violence in the state as a result of the dearth of naira. This news came the next day.

However, some banks have begun to permit non-essential workers to work remotely.

Finding also revealed that Zenith Bank closed some of its locations in Lagos State out of concern for possible attacks by enraged Nigerians as a result of the ongoing naira shortage.

In Ikeja, Ikorodu, and Agege, several Zenith Bank branches were closed on Tuesday while others had already closed, according to our reporters.

Banks have been the target of anger from Nigerians ever since the implementation of the naira redesign program.

Social internet has seen the spread of videos showing people acting up in banking halls, climbing counters, stripping off in anger in order to get the new naira notes before the deadline of February 10.

There have been attacks on a few state banks in areas like Edo and Oyo where protests have become violent.

Violent attacks against banks have also recently increased. For instance, when protests broke out over the weekend in Ibadan, a Wema Bank branch was vandalized, causing many branches to now operate with greater security and care.

Following this, a few commercial banks on Tuesday ordered certain of their branches to cease operations until further notice due to the rising anxiety brought on by the country’s currency shortage.

According to a senior official in Sterling Bank, “They opened but were asked to shut down. All branches without cash were asked to shut down. Non-essential staff have been ordered to resume remote work mode.

“Imagine a situation where some customers come to the bank with cane. They say they want to flog the bank staff. Because of certain reports in the media that EFCC have arrested some bank managers for hoarding cash, customers now think banks are the cause of the naira scarcity. This is not true.

He furthered, “There have also been challenges experienced by staff in commuting to and from work due to petrol scarcity and the resultant difficulties in getting fuel. This is coupled with the growing general level of unrest in some parts of the country.

“We are pleased to inform you that all Sterling locations across the nation have the compliments of her essential staff on premises during working hours and are fully operational at this time. The bank is closely monitoring the situation and will take any necessary measures in the interest of the safety of staff, customers and the general public.”

Similar to this scenario, it was learned that First Bank Nigeria had told some of its branches to postpone openings until additional guidance is provided.

It was also gathered that some bank branches that were seen to be prone to violent customer protests had been told to cease operations, while other branches that lacked the funds to pay their customers’ bills had also been told to do the same.

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