Niger: Customers in chaotic show off with banks

Banks in Minna, Niger state were in the early hours of Tuesday overwhelmed and swallowed by crowd of customers rushing to get money and meet up with purchase of food at home as government eased lockdown and restriction orders for the day.

Checks revealed that due to the chaotic situation caused by the huge crowds, some banks in the city refused to offer services to customers who out of frustration couldn’t adhere to social distancing precautionary measure stipulated by government. 

Blueprint correspondent who monitored the situation in Minna reports that as early as 7am, thousands of customers had formed huge crowds at most of the banks especially at GTBank, UBA, Zenith Bank, and First Bank waiting for bank staff to open. 

It was observed that majority of the customers were not with face masks while there was no room to adhere to social distancing directive. 

It was also observed that at GTB bank in Tunga, the surging crowd of customers were not allowed beyond the gates into banking hall while security issued out withdrawal or deposit forms to known faces. However, this served for only a few people as the forms got finished at about 11 am, leaving the customers confused on what to do next. 

An angry customer at one of the banks simply identified as Aminna, who spoke with our correspondent said, “is this what they will do to us? I have my brother who needs money urgently. This is not fair, the ATM is filled and they are not opening the bank. What do they want us to do? How do they want us to solve our financial challenges”.  

Checks revealed that Access Bank has three branches in Minna. However only two of the branches were opened and filled to the brim. It was discovered at one of the branches, that only gates were opened while doors of the banking hall were locked.

Speaking with our correspondents, most of the customers outside the gates at Access Bank accused security men of giving numbers to those they know to have access to carry out transactions. According to one customer identified as Tracy, “I have been here since 7 am and each time they come to give numbers, they will just pass me and give it to someone else”.

In the same vain, at the UBA main branch in Minna, it was observed that some customers were directed on calls to take back gate to enter the bank

When contacted on the chaotic situations in the banks and the implications of not maintaining precautionary measures at the banks, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Niger state Police command, ASP Wasiu Abiodun said that stricter measures will be taken on the next window period to ensure that there is no much crowd at the banks. 

He lauded the banks for adhering to the guidelines given to them while he urged the people to adhere to the social distancing saying it is for their own good. 

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