Naira scarcity: Lagosians lament as more commercial banks shut down operations

Residents of Lagos state have continued to lament the hardship posed by scarcity of Naira notes as more commercial banks shut down operations over fear of possible attacks from angry customers.

Investigation by Blueprint revealed that all branches of Ecobank in Lagos were shut down. At least a visit to three branches of the bank in Ikeja, Ogba and Berger were closed.

A security official in one of the branches told this correspondent that the instruction came from the head office that all the branches should shut down operations.

Some residents, who spoke with Blueprint, described long queues in some of the banks that are open to customers as “sickening and embarrassing”.

One of the residents, Mike Ochonma, who said that the closure of some of the banks may not be unconnected to fear of possible attack by aggrieved Nigerians, however, added that the closure had compounded the agonies of the people.

Ochonma also added that a few of the banks in operation only dispense a sum of money between N2,000, N5,000, and N10,000 in N50 notes.

Another customer, this time, at the Zenith Bank along Oba Akran road, Lagos, said the bank had shut down operations since Monday. He said even the USSD code of the bank is also not working

He called on the CBN to make new notes available in banks, lamenting that prices of food items had kept increasing while there was no money to buy the items.

Recall that Zenith Bank Plc recently shut down some of its branches in Lagos and other states following attacks from customers over their inability to withdraw funds from the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and other platforms.

The bank has come under criticism from its customers amid the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) struggle to make the redesigned Naira notes available.

Many branches of the bank across the country are without the new Naira notes, leaving their disappointed customers to gather in groups to discuss the situation.