CBN, EFCC Ignore Customers’ Cries As Nigerian Banks Become Den For Thieves, Fraudsters

Emefiele and Bawa

Growing up, it was taught that money is kept in the banks for safety, as against keeping it in the house. However, the reverse is now the case in Nigeria, as customers, on a daily basis, narrate their distasteful experience about how their monies vanished without their consents or how their money was not reversed by their banks after a failed transaction.

The Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the cashless policy in 2011, one of which its aim was to ease financial transactions among customers and with banks. However, the initiative has become an avenue to online robbery which has remained unchecked.

Customers are worried and now believe that it’s either they have been depositing their hard earned monies with thieves or fraudsters as bank staff or some of the bank staff are colluding with internet fraudsters to steal from them, or that they lack technological prowess to protect the accounts of their customers against the fraudsters.

The Nigerian banking system has nosedived from a saving haven to a safe haven for thieves and fraudsters. Sadly, the banking regulator, the CBN has continually failed to sanction erring banks to curb the disgraceful trend, neither has it tried to assist customers, leaving them to their own fate to go to their banks to complain to deaf ears or they go to court to seek justice.

It has also never been heard that the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission probed a bank, let alone sanction a bank for scamming their customers, whether it was done knowingly or unknowingly.

The latest case is that of man who in a viral video, stripped off his clothes and sat on a counter in a bank after a whopping N1.5 million allegedly disappeared from his account without any justification. He had refused to come down from the counter until when the issue is resolved.

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This has made some customers express their disgust and cried out that they were also facing similar situations in their various banks. The affected customers who now say they’ve lost confidence in Nigerian banks, threatened to storm their banks after some of their request for solution to the various discrepancies in their accounts were unsatisfactorily attended to.

Other Sad Tales of Some Banking Customers

Stating her grievance, Wumax Bimbo said, “That’s how GTB swallowed my dad’s N20,000. He was debited but my kid sister deleted the alert. So, they said, since my dad can’t provide the debit alert, there’ nothing they can do about it.”

Adeosun Omolara Omowunmi said, “My N2,800 is still with GTB since January, saying it’s SMS charges on the student account I opened and I’ve not been using it for the past seven years now. The savings account I’ve been using since that six years, GTB now deducted N2,800 from my saving account, saying it’s for the old account charges that I refused to use. Imagine, the account that I don’t even know if it still exists.”

“Mine is N20,000. I filled form tire, almost three times, kept promising me in five working days, yet nothing show at the end. I left them with the money,” Panqnyim Obadiah alleged.

Another customer, Aiyenijo Naomi Blessing told CBN that, “UBA haven’t still refunded my mom’s N20,000 after filling three times. I’m coming for you guys.”

“These banks have turned into daylight robbers… Thank God I survived what Stambic bank did to me. They just debited my account of whopping N257,000 and justified it saying, it’s undocumented charges. As soon as they refunded me, I emptied that account permanently,” Obinna Philip Ofoegbu stated.

Anthony Chukwuma Otogbolu, another victim of the crime said, “I was debited to the tune of all my savings amounting of N39,000 plus with Zenith Bank, even though I don’t have an ATM. On investigation from statement of account, they said I did online transaction from Paystack and Flutter wave but with all sincerity, I didn’t do any online transactions. I need help, as this is very devastating.”

Okeke Steadyfrank said, “Same way they vanished my N1,000,200 on 9th June, 2022. I will still come after them with EFCC when I return to Nigeria. No ATM lost, no phones misplaced. I don’t do online transactions, yet such money was moved. Thieves!!!”

Tunde Arii appealed to GT Bank to “please refund my N25,400.00 or I create this same scene at your branch office.. Refund my money since past one month . Reverse my money back.”

Robinson Akpu said, “I recall going to and fro Access Bank to clarify why over N300,000 disappeared from my account, just because I was doing a lot of transactions at the time. I couldn’t tell if it was reversed but in the end. I just had to heal at home.”

Midella said, “oloriburuku lawon people yen. Just last week N153,000 vanished from my UBA too! And if you go to the police, they will say you should pay for their transportation to track the person and UBA won’t release details for you except with court order. They showed me shege! And the details is right on their screen!”

In another bitter experience, Gbenga, recalled, “Imagine, my friend’s N950,000 went missing last week. Went to bank, and the manager told him to calm down, that it’s not their own fault. Until my padi, pulled out their systems.

“He pulled out their systems and threatened that no work would be done. It was resolved that day ooo. If you know you’re on your right, create a scene, that’s when they will take you seriously. Still waiting patiently to create a scene in FBN, I hope it’s resolved before I get there,” he added.

One Afolabi alleged that “GTbank also took over N100,000 from mum’s account and gave her some rowdy explanations about what the money was for. These banks kinda know their clients, weigh them, find the wanting and extort them.

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Allegra Damian said, “Na so dem chop N26,000 from my mama account last year,we just cast am lost jare.”

Peoples Champ said, “Zenith Bank is notorious for not refunding money that just disappears. I’ve lost over 35k from them in the last two years! It’s so disappointing because they actually used to be decent.”

Advise To Bank Customers

Analysts advise bank customers against disclosing their ATM card details to a third party, giving access to their phone lines to a third party, calling an OTP sent to their lines to an unknown person, clicking unprotected http, amongst others.

Furthermore, deactivation of your ATM card, blocking of web service payments, etc, are also strongly advised, as doing so will make it difficult for your accounts to be compromised because the scammers use your payment and card details to commit their criminal acts.

Sadly, when all customers decide to deactivate their ATM cards, stop making use of web service payments, amongst others, the cashless policy will then become a total failure if the apex bank continues to ignore and fail to address the shameful and worsening online banking fraud in the country.