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CBN staff’s timely intervention stopped the burning of Eco Bank in Delta

By Ebenezer Adurokiya -Warri

But for the timely intervention of staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), angry customers laying siege at Eco Bank Plc branch in Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, would have burnt down the financial institution.

Trouble started on Tuesday when the Eco Bank officials on duty told the surging crowd waiting for cash withdrawals at the gate of the bank that there was no cash to disburse.

Believing the bank officials were at their usual tricks, the crowd mobilised to burn the bank premises, but the CBN officials, who were on cash swap duty in the riverine area at the material time, halted the move.

The CBN team, led by Mr Sunny Daibo, who’s representing the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, swiftly found its way into the banking hall to ascertain if there was cash in the vault or not.

The confirmation of no cash in the bank’s vault saved the day, as Mr Daibo quickly announced to the raging crowd of the lack of cash in the vault, urging them to exercise patience for a reinforcement on the way.

Speaking with Tribune Online on the near mayhem experience, Mr Daibo, who’s CBN Deputy Director of Finance, himself from Koko, said after some frantic calls, a total of N3.5 million was brought from Benin and N2 million was swiftly loaded in the ATM outlets.

“The youths wanted to break down Ecobank. When we got there, we met the DSS.

“We went to the Ecobank vault, but there was no money; we made some calls and they said they were bringing money from Benin to Warri and they brought the cash in our presence, about N3.5m and N2m was immediately loaded in the ATM and they started paying over the counter.” he enthused.

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Daibo, while explaining further how the team facilitated more disbursement of the new naira notes to riverine communities, he said his team was mobilizing more bank agents that to the riverine areas.

He observed that over 90 per cent of folks had returned their old naira notes to the banks and it was only logical for them to have access to the new Naira notes without losing focus of the cashless policy.

“What is going on now is not cash swap and pay. From my assessment, so many people have deposited all their money in the bank.

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“With the POS operators, we pay N10,000 or N50,000 per person, but if we see that the crowd is much, we reduce the money we give to each person.

The CBN official said to douse further agitation, his team will move further into the creeks, especially Escravos, with enough new naira notes from Wednesday.

“The cashless policy is for the benefit of the masses; It’s not to put fear in them, but to help them and make life easier for them in the long run.

“We want to reduce the volume of cash transactions in the economy that’s why we also encourage our riverine people to open bank accounts and do online transactions,” he noted.

Meanwhile, checks by our correspondent on Wednesday showed that despite the Supreme Court of Nigeria’s interim termination of the Federal Government’s February 10 deadline for the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes to stop being legal tenders, a crowd of folks were still sighted besieging commercial banks for cash withdrawal.



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