…Bankers not responsible for the cash scarcity crisis
By Chisom Onuoha
The leadership of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), has ordered their members across the country to stay home and avoid being victims of attacks in any area where Nigerians are attacking banks and its facilities.
In a stay at home order signed by its National President, Olusoji Oluwole, said the Association had earlier called on government to protect the lives and properties of their members against attacks. He went on to say that no job worth a single life if ASSBIFI member.
The statement reads; “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 wanings and appeals to Government to provide security Measure for the Safety ot Lives and Properties of our Members within and around the bank premises, but regettably the attacks have continued without any form of security for the safety of our Members, and recent being the attack today, Friday 17th February, 2023 on one bank branch at Epe, Logos State.
“We cannot leave the lives and ptoperties of our Members exposed to obvious danger. Consequently. All Members Should today Immediate Stay Away from Work in any State where bank branches are attacked. This is to continue every day until normalcy ls restored. You will be availed further directives as events develop.”
Furthermore, Oluwole told Nigerian Tribune in a phone chat: “What we are saying is that any where there is any sign of violence against any bank, all banks should shut down in that area. First, we may a public statement earlier and warned that the kind of information coming against banks will lead to violence. Secondly, we made another statement when bank customers where threatening our staffs because they could not have access to cash.
“The next public statement we made was after the attacks in Abeokuta and Ibadan, and then the last one was when banks were attacked in Delta and Edo and some other places. It was after the last attacks that we stated that we will no longer put ourselves at risk, that if it happen again, we will tell our members to stay at home because it is becoming too traumatic for them. The attacks is having mental and physical effect on them. They are so afraid to be at work, they cannot even go out.
“This morning a bank was attacked in Epe Lagos. And it was on the basis of that, that we told our members that any where any bank is attacked, all banks within that vicinity should lock their doors and stay away. Even before this order came to be, a lot of banks have started shutting down their service because of fear of attack.
“So bank workers are fearful for their lives and I don’t think we need to wait until lives are lost before we start taking a reactive action. What we are doing is to take a proactive measure to prevent the lost of lives of our members until such a time when people realised that the problem they are facing is not the fault of the banks. That the more they attack bank facilities, they are invariably shutting down the availability of banking services in their area. And when you attack banks in your area and they shut down, you have already put yourself in trouble. So when they calm down, we will reopen them.”
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