Deposit Money Banks (DMB) have reassured Nigerians of steady services, despite and provision of adequate security in all their branches nationwide, as they endure the lingering scarcity of new naira notes.
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has urged Nigerians to remain calm, assuring that banks will remain open to serve the public as long as it is safe for them to do so.
This appeal follows the protest and destruction of banks’ facilities in some parts of the country, as a result of new naira notes scarcity.
President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Dr Ken Opara, in a statement released on Friday, February 17, 2023, said the umbrella professional body for bankers in Nigeria is liaising with the body of banks’ CEOs to address the current challenges created by the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Dr Opara said that commercial banks will continue to ensure the provision of adequate security in all branches, for hitch-free operations.
He, however, stated that banks have been empowered to take proactive measures to close their operations whenever there is a security challenge or threat of attack beyond what they can handle in any of their locations to prevent attacks on staff and further destruction of their facilities.
The statement reads: “The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria is liaising with the Body of Banks CEOs to address the current challenges. As such, the banks would continue to remain open to serve the public as long as it is safe to do so.
“The safety and security of staff of banks is of paramount importance. Hence, where there is security challenge, the Management of banks have been empowered to take proactive measures to close their operations in such location and inform the Central Bank of Nigeria. Therefore, the safety concerns being expressed in various quarters are already being addressed.
“Banks will continue to ensure that adequate security is in place to protect staff and customers whilst safeguarding their assets in contending with the current challenge. Consequently, we appeal to the general public to remain calm and eschew any act of violence as the banking industry remains resolute and committed to finding ways to address all the related issues.
“We indeed appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work together towards restoring normalcy.”
The lingering scarcity of the new currency notes (N1,000, N500, and N200) has forced Nigerians to embark on protests in different parts of the country in the last one week. The protests have led to attacks and burning of banks’ branch offices in states like Oyo, Ogun, Edo, Ondo, Delta, Kwara, Lagos, Enugu, among others.
According to the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, (ASSBIFI, no fewer than N5 billion have been lost due to the destruction of about seven bank branches in the violent protests.