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Bank customers decry poor services of ATMs, USSD codes, others


A bank located at Ireakari, Isolo Lagos, where customers defied the social distancing directive by the Federal and State governments, given to the excessive turn up of customers, as some branches of the bank were not open for operations, yesterday. PHOTO: VICTOR UZOHO

• Defy social distancing, face-masks wearing
• LASTMA impounds erring drivers’ vehicles

Despite assurances of uninterrupted and hitch-free services by banks in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, some customers yesterday decried poor services of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and USSD codes.

At some banks in Lagos, there were long queues of customers at ATM points, making it difficult for numerous customers to make withdrawals from their accounts.

Many of the ATMs displayed an “out of service” message on their monitors, while others were unable to dispense cash due to network problems.

Though banks had recently urged customers to visit to any of their branches through online and digital platforms like telephones, online meetings, teleconferencing and others, some customers that use more of the online banking channels, expecting to receive hitch-free access to all banking services anywhere, anytime, decry hitches and interrupted services arising from poor network.


Some complained of difficulty in logging on to the bank app, while others could not process any transaction either via POS, online banking or USSD code.

These faulty ATMs ultimately staged a return of long queue and waiting experience in banking halls.

The Guardian observed that many commercial banks’ branches in Lagos are still on lock and keys, leaving many customers who trooped out to carry out transactions after the long lockdown disappointed.

There were mixed feeling among customers who showed signs of disappointment and confusion after visiting some of the banks’ branches, as most of the customers were not able to carry out transactions, alleging that the closure was a gradual plan to lay off workers.

Already, there were controversies over the alleged decision to close over 300 branches of a bank and a phased sack of some of its employees, in addition to a downward review of workers’ salary and that of its chief executives and executive directors by 40 per cent.


Consequently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday released a statement after its meeting with the bankers’ committee, mandating all banks to suspend lay-off of workers of any cadre, maintaining that express approval of the CBN must be required if it becomes absolutely necessary to sack any member of staff.

A visit to some of the bank’s branches mentioned in the list that went viral on social media shows otherwise from what the bank had earlier said, as the branches were shutdown with only some of their ATMs working at each branch visited.

A visit to the Ireakari branch of a bank showed a devastating state of things, as there was a crowd of over 500 people scampering to gain access into the banking hall, thereby defying the social distancing order by the federal and state governments.

A customer of the bank, Benjamin Oluwatobi, who spoke with The Guardian, expressed displeasure with the crowd, saying that the method adopted by the bank is frustrating.

In another development, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) yesterday impounded several commercial vehicles in the Anthony area of Lagos for violating the number of passengers that should be in the vehicle to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An official, who claimed anonymity, said the erring motorists would face the full wrath of the law.


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