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Nigerian banks accused of stealing money from customers’ accounts

Bank customers in Nigeria have lamented the rising spate of ‘illegal’ withdrawals from their accounts.

Customers who were victims of the alleged ‘illegal’ withdrawal on Monday in Abuja urged authorities to address the trend urgently.

Helen Isiguzu, a customer with one of the new generation banks, said, “No wonder the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said there is so much money in the hands of Nigerians outside the banks. People are beginning to lose hope in commercial banks.”

Ms Isiguzu added, “Instead of my money to develop wings and disappear from my account just in a day, I rather invest it into real estate business, and it will yield greater profits.”

Anthonia Ibedalu, another customer with one of the new generation banks, said some banks in the country were operating below international standards.

Ms Ibedalu called on the relevant authorities, including the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), to step up actions and save customers from fraudulent activities in some banks.

She recounted that the money in her dollar accounts in one of the commercial banks had disappeared after she travelled out of the country for three years.

“I inquired about what happened but was told my account was hacked. I wondered how an account that no other person had the details about could be hacked into,” said Ms Ibedalu. “When I contacted higher authorities in the bank, they investigated, and my money was refunded.”

She added, “They did not tell me the result of their investigation, but from their responses, it was an insider thing. I now ask, what if I didn’t know who to contact.”

Louis Otagoro, a former banker, appealed to the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) to ensure that only trained professionals work in the industry.

“The CIBN should step up actions to ensure that the banking profession does not become an all-comers affair,” he said.

Meanwhile, the president of CIBN, Ken Opara, had said the council was resolute and committed to the observance and maintenance of ethics and professionalism among practitioners in the banking industry.

Babatunde Irukera, the executive vice chairman of the FCCPC, had also said they were engaging with banks to address consumer-related issues.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said most banking fraud handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the ‘withdrawals’.

The head of EFCC’s cybercrime, Abbah Sambo, said that banks’ ICT staff usually made the ‘withdrawals’.


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