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Published On: Wed, May 6th, 2020

Banks deny customers services over social distancing rules in Niger

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From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

There was a chaotic situation on Tuesday in the state capital of Minna in Niger State as most banks had refused to offer their services to customers due to crowd that allegedly refused to adhere to social distancing rules as directed.
Apparently, at around 7 am, most of the banks especially GTBank, UBA, Zenith Bank, and First Bank were filled up as hundreds of customers were already at the gates waiting for them to open for service.
Our reporter observed that most of the customers who were at the banks were not with face masks while the social distancing directive was not adhered to.
At GTBank in Tunga, the doors leading to the banking hall were closed but the gates were opened. Security men were at the sides giving out deposit forms to those who can trust them enough to give them their money.
Some of the customers filled the forms and gave the forms and money to the security men who went into the banking hall to deposit the money and returned with evidence of the deposit.
However, this served for only a few people as the forms got finished at about 11 am, leaving the customers confused about what to do next.
At the doors which were closed, it was overcrowded as the people were not ready to give way for anyone, there were complaints by people.
“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 is to address our financial challenges”, a lady called Amina said.
At the main branch of UBA, it was the case of who you know that will get you in. It was observed that anyone who comes and knows a staff, calls the staff and the customer is directed to the back gate where further calls are made and confirmed to enable the person to enter the bank.
Inside the bank premises, people were sited waiting for their turns into the banking premises while outside the gate, those not allowed in sat on the floor as the security continue to reassure them that they will enter into the bank.
Access Bank has three branches in Minna but only two of the branches were opened and filled. At one of the branches, the gates were opened but the doors of the bank were not opened while the other branch, the gates were closed but people were allowed to enter occasionally.
Two canopies were set up inside the gate, one for bulk deposit while the other was for little amount and other complaints.
Most of the customers outside the gate challenged the security for giving numbers to those they know as some claimed they have been there for hours and have not been allowed in.
When contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu, 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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