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Bank staff withdraw services after Naira scarcity protesters attacks

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Concerned about safety of commercial banks and other financial institutions’ staff, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has directed its members to stay off work after hoodlums protesting against Naira scarcity launched attacks on the financial experts across Nigeria.

ASSBIFI said that its members had been the major targets of protesters across the country agitating for surplus Naira in circulation after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its currency redesigning and cashless policy.

The association’s directives to its members on Friday came barely 24 hours after warning that should attacks on members and the financial institution continue, they may withdraw their services, so as to protect themselves from attacks.

In a circular to all its units nationwide, President of ASSBIFI, Olusoji Oluwole, said” The National Secretariat has been inundated with reports of threats and attacks on lives and properties of members and bank branches, and subsequently has been on the field to monitor and confirm the reports.

“We issued warnings and appeals to the government to provide security measures for the safety of lives and properties of our members within and around the bank premises, but regrettably the attacks have continued without any form of security for the safety of our members, and the recent attack today, Friday 17th February 2023 on one bank branch at Epe, Lagos State.

“We cannot leave the lives and properties of our members exposed to obvious danger. Consequently, all members should Today immediately stay away from work in any state where bank branches are attacked. This is to continue every day until normalcy is restored.”

It would be recalled that the Association had lamented that no fewer than seven bank branches were burnt, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), were destroyed and workers’ personal effects damaged, as well as a heavy attack on their members.

According to him, at the last count of attacks, which happened previously in Oyo and Ogun states were put at about N2 billion, while the recent attack increased the banks’ losses to N5 billion.

He said, “ Right now, I want to believe that we will be talking about not less than five billion Naira and we are still counting, because seven branches have been burnt, ATMs have been destroyed, personal effects have been damaged, vehicles and so on and so forth.”

Oluwole informed that the Association has put its members on alert to be withdrawn without further notice should the attacks and threats to their lives continues, saying “we value the lives of our members and colleagues and will not put them at any further risk. We have put them on alert and shall instruct them without further warning to immediately stay away from their branches if these attacks on our members and facilities continue until such a time that they can be guaranteed their personal safety and the security of their workplaces by the relevant authorities.

“We call on the public to desist from threatening or attacking our members, or destroying our properties as they will be only proverbially cutting their noses to spite their faces. We can only give what we have been provided with and nothing more.

“We also challenge the news media to be investigative, verify and probe their information so that the nation and the world will know the truth. We are in a critical period of our National development, and all hands must be on deck to bring Nigeria out of the woods. Fake and deceptive information must be checked at a time like this.

“ASSBIFI and National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, NUBIFIE, members are highly responsible, ethical, and patriotic people, mindful of the negative impact industrial action in an already charged environment, but if we are pushed, we will do what is necessary to defend and protect ourselves.”

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