Senate Urges Banks to Resume Operations in Akwa Ibom
Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks operating in Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State to resume full operations without further delay.
It also directed its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, to probe all the banks closed from 2010 till date.
The Senate believed that it would enable the CBN to strengthen the money deposit banks across the country.
It specifically asked the apex bank to carry out thorough study on the causes of shutting the banks with a view to guiding against them.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Akon Etim Eyakenyi (PDP Akwa Ibom South) during plenary yesterday.
Leading the debate on the motion, Eyakenyi noted that all banking operations in Oron Local Government Area have been suspended since February 17, 2023, till date following the protests and commotions caused by customers over acute scarcity of naira.
She said: “Despite the straight roles that those banks play in commercial activities and the economy of Oron nation comprising five local government areas of Mbo, Okobo, Udunguko, Urue Offong/Uruko, and Oron,” the lawmaker noted that the naira redesign and cashless policy of the CBN led to cash crunch nationwide while customers rushing to the banks without monies available for withdrawal.
The lawmaker, however, expressed happiness that normalcy had returned in many parts of the country, particularly in Oron, after the apex bank directed commercial banks to pay old N500 and N1,000 notes.
Eyakenyi recalled incidents where bank customers, out of anger, sacked bank staff, in some cases attack them because of non-availability of money to dispense, adding that the police had since arrested 15 persons for the crime.
She lamented that Oron was one of the places “where customers converged on various bank premises for several days without money to pay them, while the agitated customers protested and caused commotion in banking halls.”
Eyakenyi also expressed concern about the “heavy hardship orchestrated by this continuous shutdown of banks in Oron despite assurances by the Nigeria Police that they have taken punitive measures and absolute control to avert similar occurrence.”
Contributing, Senator Binos Yaroe (PDP Adamawa South) urged the Senate in session to direct its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial
Institutions to investigate the causes of banks shutting down in the last 10 years with a view to ensuring that all monies deposited by their customers are paid to them.