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THE INCREASING INSECURITY OF BANKS’ CUSTOMERS IN NIGERIA

Before the creation of money, economic transactions were mainly carried out through ‘trade by barter’. At that time, humans exchanged what they had with whatever they needed from other fellows. Though this economic system strived on ignorance and timidity, it offered peace and security to mankind. The world economy was also mainly agrarian in nature.

According to economic historians, this method became more difficult to manage as the different societies in the world grew in sophistication and size. For example, it became increasingly difficult to arrive at the actual value of goods to be exchanged with others.

Money was therefore created mainly to eliminate the difficulties associated with exchange values, store of wealth, measure of deferred payments and standard for payment for goods and services. Proceeds arising from monetary transactions were saved by individuals in whatever way they chose. This included burying of money sometimes in the ground.

With monies kept in homes and other individuals’ hidden places, it was difficult to effectively influence the circulation of money and distribution of wealth among individuals on one hand and different nations on the other.

When banking was introduced, it offered an organized system of saving and spending money. Governments’ influence on the circulation of same and distribution of wealth was equally enhanced greatly.

However, banking in Nigeria has since become an economic danger that many would have loved to avoid were they left with any viable options.

The security threats faced by the Nigerian banking public are legion. And these have remained on the increase over the years. The sophistication of the different methods of attacks on banks and their customers seem to be beyond the ability of both the government and the banks themselves to offer protection to those who visit the banks’ premises on daily basis for one transaction or another.

Even those whose have embraced the many technological means of banking are not spared. Online banking facilities have caused sudden deaths to many. There have been several cases of cyber criminals hacking into the accounts of customers and withdrawing huge sums of money from such accounts without compensation to victims.

There are many instances where customers have received text messages from fraudsters asking for vital information regarding their accounts.  Some have fallen victims to such criminals

While others who are smart enough to escape from the snare set by these unscrupulous elements still have to contend with bank charges that are automatically deducted from customers’ accounts with little or no explanations. Some of these charges include ATM maintenance, ATM withdrawal limit just to mention but a few.

As if there the losses inflicted on customers by Nigerian banks are not grievous enough, they also suffer great losses arising from theft within banking premises. In Agbor and its environs, customers have been known to have lost valuables such motor cycles, cars and cash to criminals without any feeling of guilt from the banks.

While the banks are insured against mishaps such as armed robbery attacks, their customers are warned that vehicles are packed at their own risks. In effect, those who lose their properties within the bank premises are left to their fate.

Recently, a young man was hired to fix a malfunctioning power generating set by a client at Agbor. Based on his quotation for the job, his client issued him a UBA cheque. He went to cash the cheque with his motor bike. He got the money quite alright. But he came out of the banking hall to find out that his motor cycle has been stolen. Till date the vehicle has not been recovered. And thief has not been apprehended either despite the heavy presence of security men and surveillance circuit cameras mounted inside and outside the banking hall. The young is now groaning with the burden of paying for an item he bought with higher purchase agreement.

Mean while, as Christmas approaches and since the “hunters have learnt to shoot without missing their targets, it is only logical that the birds also learn to fly without perching”. In the case of the Nigerian banking public, since neither the banks nor the governments are interested in their safety, they should begin to provide palliative measures for themselves and their monies in bank vaults.

Car and motor cycle owners should go beyond merely putting off their engine when they pack. In addition to whatever security gadgets that exist in their vehicles they should equally lock up their vehicle steering and wheels respectively with pad locks.

Items such as ATM cards, national identity cards, drivers’ license, national passports and BVN must be guarded jealously by their owners. If loss occurs they should report to the police and their banks as quickly as possible.

The banks themselves should device a means whereby those whose items such as ATM cards and mobile telephone handsets can block their accounts without necessarily visiting the banking hall.

Government and banks can work out ways of indemnifying bank customers against risks within banking environments.

For those who go to cash money with bags, they must hold on tightly to such bags to prevent such from being snatched by criminals.

The thieves on their part should take a break this Christmas period and watch out for what God could and will do in their lives. According to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, “stealing is an open confirmation of your admission of God’s inability to help you”

Now this… Since the federal government is set to invoke the ‘no work – no pay’ law against the Nigerian workers, who invokes the one that stipulates that workers’ salaries must be reviewed every five years? In all these, some folks are beginning to suspect that both NLC and the Federal government are playing out a script that may scuttle the general elections that are just around the corner.

 

BY AUGUSTINE OMILO

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