From Dan Amasingha, Minna
Customers who had hoped to utilise the lockdown window opened for them to engage in commercial and financial transactions witnessed an unprecedented chaos at the entrance of most commercial banks on Tuesday, in Minna, the Niger state capital.
The chaos at the banks stemmed from refusal by branches to offer services to customers due who swam at the banks’ premises.
The customers in their hundreds refused to adhere to social distancing protocol prescribed for public conduct by health authorities.
As early as 7 am, most of the banks especially GTBank, UBA, Zenith Bank, and First Bank were filled to the brim as hundreds of customers were already at the gates waiting for them to open.
DALY ASSET observed that most of the people 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 initially closed but later opened for a select customers. Security men were seen giving out deposit forms to those who had cash deposits to make.
Some of the customers filled the forms and returned same with the intended cash for deposit 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 next to do.
It was further observed that as the entrance doors leading to the banking hall were closed, the people were not ready to give way for anyone as the crowd kept surging.
“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 us to address our financial challenges”, a lady called Amina cried out in desperation.
“How will GTB not open their bank? Even if its three people they allow in each time, they would have succeeded in reducing the crowd but by not opening the bank, they are making matters worse,” she further stated.
Access Bank has three branches in Minna but only two of the branches were opened and both were filled with customers. At one of the branches, the gates were opened but the security scanning doors to the banking hall were not opened while the other branch, the gates were closed but people were allowed to enter at intervals.
Two canopies were set up inside the gate, one for bulk deposit customers, while the other was for little amounts and other complaints.
Most of the customers outside the gate challenged the security officials for favouring customers more familiar to them.
“I have been here since 7 am and each time they come to give numbers, they will just pass me and give it to someone else”, a Lady, Tracy alleged.
Her claim was confirmed when a man came out of the bank and asked the security man to let her in, “this lady was here before me, allow her to enter, inside this sun, please consider her.”
At the main branch of UBA, it was observed that anyone who knew a staff was directed to the back gate, and his entrance was facilitated.
Inside the bank premises, people were squatting on the ground waiting for their turns, while outside the gate, those not allowed in sat on the floor as the security officials continued to reassure them that they will enter into the bank.
When DAILY ASSET contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu, he said that stricter measures will be taken on the next window period to ensure that there was no much crowd at the banks.
He lauded the banks for adhering to the guidelines given to them, and urged the people to adhere to the social distancing rule, saying it was for their own good.