One of Nigeria’s commercial banks, Polaris Bank, has been criticised for asking Muslim staff not to perform Friday prayers.
In a leaked email, one of the bank’s supervising staff, Damilola Adebara, said the bank does not have a policy that allows any employee to go for religious activities during work hours.
The email suggested that the staff are working under its YES centre, a branch of its customer service.
The mail read in part: “Dear All, It has been observed that on Fridays, you leave your work desks to attend the Jumat service bearing in mind the impact of your absence on the work flow and productivity of Yes Center.”
“Kindly note that there is no provision made anywhere in the Bank’s policy for employees to attend any religious activities during work hours. Going forward such permissions would not be granted on the Yes Center platform and any infraction of this directive would be dealt with accordingly. You are all expected to acknowledge the receipt of this mail. Thank you.”
Following outrage by Nigerians, a commercial bank, Polaris Bank, has said that one of its supervising staff, Damilola Adebara, who wrote a memo banning workers from going out to attend Friday prayers acted on ignorance.
Reacting to the backlash from many Nigerians, the bank issued a statement, distancing itself from the stance of the supervisor.
In a statement signed on Thursday, the bank’s management said Ms Adebara acted in ignorance as the bank does not have any policy that forbids people from practicing their religion.
While noting that Nigeria is a secular state, the bank management said the supervisor’s action does not reflect the corporate identity of the Bank.
“The attention of the Bank has been drawn to a shared screenshot of mail sent by a supervisor to staff in her department in respect of Friday prayers.”
“This is to clarify that Nigeria is a secular nation and our Bank is guided by this standard.
“Accordingly, there is no policy in the Bank that forbids staff from practicing the religion of their choice; hence the said staff had acted in ignorance and we have since addressed the issue internally.”