As the naira scarcity persists, some banks are shutting their branches over rising customer attacks.
This came a day after the Lagos State Police Command issued a warning that some groups were planning to unleash violence in the state due to the naira scarcity.
Some of the banks had started to allow non-essential employees to work from home.
Findings show Zenith Bank has shut down some branches in Lagos State over the fear of attacks by angry Nigerians due to the ongoing naira scarcity.
Some Zenith Bank branches in Ikeja, Ikorodu and Agege were shut on Tuesday while some closed earlier.
Since the naira redesign policy started, banks have been at the receiving end of the frustration of Nigerians.
Videos of individuals climbing counters, stripping, and expressing their anger in banking halls have circulated on social media.
Nigerians have been going through hardships in getting their hands on the new naira notes as the February 10 deadline approaches.
This has led to attacks on some banks in the state, as states like Edo and Oyo have witnessed protests that degenerated into riots.
Recently, banks have been subjected to violent attacks. In Ibadan, a Wema Bank branch was vandalised when riots broke out over the weekend. This has led to increased security and caution around many banks.
With the heightened tension accompanying the protracted naira scarcity in the country, some commercial banks on Tuesday directed some of their branches to shut down operations until further notice.
Findings however, revealed that some bank branches in certain parts of Lagos with no cash to pay customers were asked to shut down operations.
The directive, it was gathered, was to forestall possible violent reactions by frustrated customers who had already begun to take laws into their hands in some parts of the country.
A senior official at Sterling Bank, who declined to be named, confirmed to our correspondent that some of the bank’s branches in the Lekki area of Lagos had been closed on Tuesday.
The source said, “They opened but were asked to shut down. All branches without cash were asked to shut down. Non-essential staff have been ordered to resume remote work mode.”
The source further stated that the closure of some of the banks had become necessary due to the untenable attitude of frustrated customers who believe that commercial banks are to blame for the hardship associated with the current naira scarcity.
“Imagine a situation where some customers come to the bank with cane. They say they want to flog the bank staff. Because of certain reports in the media that EFCC have arrested some bank managers for hoarding cash, customers now think banks are the cause of the naira scarcity. This is not true,” the source further stated.
However, an emailed response from Sterling Bank read in part, “Kindly be informed that there is no memo ordering Sterling staff to work from home. All of our branches and offices are open and functioning optimally. While non-essential staff have been given the option to tap into the existing hybrid work policy (for staff members not required on-premises) due to concerns about an imminent strike by petroleum operators, essential staff are present and working on-premises during working hours to ensure the bank’s operations run smoothly.
“There have also been challenges experienced by staff in commuting to and from work due to petrol scarcity and the resultant difficulties in getting fuel. This is coupled with the growing general level of unrest in some parts of the country.
“We are pleased to inform you that all Sterling locations across the nation have the compliments of her essential staff on premises during working hours and are fully operational at this time. The bank is closely monitoring the situation and will take any necessary measures in the interest of the safety of staff, customers and the general public.”Follow us on social media