Banks in Nigeria
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Banks Fraud, Financial Rape and its System Cruelty on Nigerians 

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Akowe John-Duke ‘Selime
It is exceptionally bothersome and wearisome to be acquainted with the fact that the Nigerian banks have mastered an assortment of ways of stealing from and swindling their clientele. I am very much aware that some time ago, the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which is the apex monetary authority and the promoter of monetary stability in Nigeria; counseled other cooperate banks in Nigeria to stop deducting Commission on Turnover from customers’ accounts, but it would be surprising to note that commercial banks in Nigeria have introduced a further technique of robbing clients funds through setting up what they christen “a maintenance fee”.  A little pecuniary business deal is made by a customer and a fast deduction is done. Now, the 52 naira 50 kobo that Nigerian banks deduct per transaction, what is it for?
I made a request not long ago on what those charges are intended for and I was weighed down and snowed under my sleeves to listen to the professional in banking affairs say that they go to NIPOST. At this instant, I am sure that even a kid knows that NIPOST has nothing to do with banking. But for the sake of those who don’t know about NIPOST, it is a government owned organization responsible for providing postal services in Nigeria. Where then lays the link stuck between NIPOST and the banking sector? I consider it as mere imps as it makes completely no brains and tremendously lagging in logical judgment. How is NIPOST involved in an electronic money transfer? Was the money put in an envelope or a wrapper sheet and transferred to the beneficiary? This is systematic cruelty in its highest order. That’s a blatant fraud!
When I opened my first bank account as a student with the liquidated Intercontinental Bank Plc, so many years ago; I applied for an ATM card and a withdrawal slip unknowing to me that I would be charged for it. I happily dumped the sum of five thousand naira only into the account, hoping that I had saved something for the rainy days. I went back some weeks later to withdraw something to keep mind and body together; to my greatest dismay; I discovered that my account balance has been cut down to N3, 360. I almost shed tears back to school with tales of dissatisfaction and displeasure paradoxically running down my sorry face. I was young and innocent then, so I couldn’t carry out any brawny claims.
I won’t be flawed or faulty to clutch steadfastly on a belief system that the Nigerian banking sector is an unfortunately overstuffed business vendor that flourishes on systematically ingrained policies that terribly and awfully takes advantage of Nigerians. They have continuously cheated on the run of the mill citizens of their stiff earned money that has been kept in their care to help save and allow the money to accumulate into something reasonable. You keep N100 in your account; returning at the end of the month to meet N70 there. I don’t even understand why Nigerians must pay for ATM cards; because I know it’s free in Europe and America even after requesting for it more than 10 times in a month. Annoyingly too these ATM cards may not be used in months but we still pay for charges. How do you even charge someone who isn’t in the country for the cards in the person’s closets or luggage; as the case may be? Isn’t that fraud?
I sat down one momentous day to have a juggle around on the charges I receive after every transaction. I discovered I was been charged for my actual transaction; charged for the SMS sent to the beneficiary and for the normal transaction charge. And if I make transactions 5 times in a month; I get charges for 3 times the 5 transactions I made. So I decided to make a report to my bank not to send me message alert anymore since they have concluded on deducting from my small money. At the end of the day, the customers get poorer and the bank gets richer. I think the top players in the banking sector should do something really fast on this SMS deduction issues; it isn’t get funny anymore.
This is not to talk about other charges that come from birthdays and other important occasions. How can a bank claim to care about you, send you an SMS on your birthday or on special occasions; afterward charge you for that same SMS? This is an SMS I totally didn’t pester for. Why are you charging me for wishing me happy birthday? It’s like someone who sends a gift present to a birthday celebrant and asks for a refund of the cash spent. This is sheer psychosis! An open fraud! If you must show your customers some love and affection on their special days, then do it freely instead of empting the little amount of money in a man’s account. It isn’t even the case that what they remove is N5. This doesn’t even occur yearly but monthly. It is really disheartening for a poor man who manages to put his money in the bank for safety.
We might be tempted to think that N52 50 kobo is just a little money. What about those poor petty traders, local farmers and even students who make electronic transfers day after day? If a deduction is made from their meager account, what is left becomes as useless as the letter “p” in the word ‘psychology’. Research on electronic banking has shown that nine banks earned N25.9bn from electronic products just between January and March, 2018; can you see in your mind’s eye this colossal profit made in three months from customers who work day and night to make money in this country where its economy is wacked? I have taken time out to run a summation of what the commercial banks get from their customers on a daily basis. It is quite alarming to note that these banks make a whole lot of money from the daily savings of poor customers. Imagine if there are almost 75,000 daily electronic fund transfers this year; which would definitely exceed that number, I know. The banks make a whopping sum of four to five million naira daily. Now, where does the money go to?
A further attention-grabbing twist is how Nigerian banks can deduct a person’s account totally empty till it starts to read “minus”. How would you deduct money from someone’s account until it starts reading minus? The customer care unit can even put a call across to you telling you to reactivate an account they operated in your stead.  I don’t want to accept as true the very fact that what we have is a grouping of flamboyantly looking but unsubstantiated banks that have misplaced or pooped out all their inventiveness for stern banking and advantageous nest egg. For the reason that it indicators point toward the motion that the only way for Nigerian banks to make turnover is to go on board with loads of spiteful groundless and inconsiderate charges to remain in business, just at the disadvantage of their unfortunate customers. I am beginning to wonder what happens to the loans they give out to customers. If they manage it properly, I am very convinced they will come out excellently well and avoid financially raping poor customers of their petty money. It’s all fraud. A daylight robbery, all in one coin!
It is dreadfully wide of the mark and absolutely uncharitable to have Nigerians defend the pecuniary scam that Nigerian banks are carrying out on bank users with justifications and pretexts of no power, no diesel, no internet, poor technological gadgets, no technical expertise; even no petrol. I think if the banking industry is having setbacks, they should search for aids from the government; not shift expenditures to bank users. I have also read testimonies of how other government makes sure that banks and businesses have favorable surroundings that make it unproblematic for them to do their operations in a harmless, reasonable, flaxen and well synchronized line of attack that profits the banks and shield the customers from these tyrannical, oppressive modus operandi and disproportionate charges. What baffles me again, the ATM machines that use to dispense N40, 000 as a maximum per time, all of a sudden started dispensing N20, 000 or sometimes N10, 000 maximum per time. Just for the sole purpose of making money from extra charges. This banking system is faulty and not-up-to-par.
I am strongly of the opinion that the problems of the Nigerian banking sector; in whatever form it appears; by any standards and in any perspective it’s been considered shouldn’t be transferred to the bank users. This is where the government can be of immense support to the customers and their banks. The government should be capable of lending a hand; in a point of fact to the banks by means of creating an encouraging functioning atmosphere for them. The government can make sure a first-class supervision and an appealing parameter of operation are structurally feasible for customers. This; in turn, can put a stop to insolvency on the side of the banks and thwart customers from unnecessarily bringing their money up the rear. Why should I keep my money in the bank, and they will use it for business; at the end of the month, instead of paying me interest for using my money; the bank will charge me excessively for electronic transfers, ATM operations, SMS and the rest of them? The Nigerian Banks, whether commercial or central, can’t continuously feed on our money and leave us penniless. That’s financial rape!
Rev Fr John-Duke Akowe is a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Auchi, Edo state, Nigeria.

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