Business

Commercial Banks Shut After Abuja Bombing

The branches of all the commercial banks operating in Nyanya and Mararaba area in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) failed to open for business on Friday following Thursday’s explosion in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that customers of the banks who hurried to carry out transactions, especially to collect money were jolted when they found the banks’ gates locked.

No fewer than 10 branches of the major banks are located in the area.

Although no official of any of the banks was available, it was learnt that the branches had directives from their headquarters not to open.

The blast at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, which the Police said, claimed 19 lives and injured more than 70 persons, was the second in the area in about three weeks.

In the first incident which occurred on April 14 at the Nyanya motor park, police confirmed 76 deaths and more than 150 injured and no fewer than 25 vehicles destroyed.

A source close to the banks told NAN that the closure of the banks would continue until security in the area improved.

The disappointed customers were seen in clusters in front of the banks discussing the development which immediately brought pressure on the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) as customers formed long queues to withdraw money.

One of the customers, Mr Sunday Amaechi, who though said the closure of the banks was inimical to commercial activities, added: “I think what the banks have done is the right thing to do for now”.

Amaechi, however, said that the banks ought to have sent an official to address customers on the development.

He noted that the inability of the banks to do so smacked of low level of respect for customers.

Similarly, Mrs Chioma Ebue, another bank customer, decried the development and said that it would adversely affect people in the area.

“What do they expect us to do now? Some of us trade and live by the day and as it is now, people have to go to Abuja city to get money.

“For me, I need to go to Abuja city to make withdrawal for my transaction this morning,’’ she said.

But Mr Audu Matthew, one of the disappointed customers, counselled that people should take the development in good faith.

According to him, the management of the banks are themselves not happy with the situation.

Matthew said: “We must understand that the banks are vulnerable targets for these evil ones and therefore must be protected.

“I will wait to make use of the ATM to get some money for my family use’’.

The banks’ internal security men could not speak on the issue but one of them said: “We do not know the actual reasons why the bank is not open but it cannot be unconnected with yesterday’s bomb blast’’.

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