Long queues yesterday emerged in most commercial banks across the country following noticeable cash withdrawal scarcity and inability of customers to obtain cash to embark on Christmas shopping.
LEADERSHIP Friday’s checks at most of the commercial banks showed rising difficulties by customers in the banking hall and Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) points to have access to make withdrawals.
The large number of customers noticed at most banks was attributed to the recent payment of salaries some state governments to civil servants and the rush by customers to emabark on travels to their villages.
In Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, some bank workers who declined to mention their names attributed the difficulty of customers to access cash to the shortage of cash supplied to the state.
Worried by the development, the Bayelsa State government, through the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ebibai, in a statement issued on Wednesday, confirmed that the attention of the state government had been drawn to the information that some civil servants and officials in the state were having challenges collecting their salaries due to lack of cash in various banks in the state.
The statement noted: “It is indeed sad but also worthy to note that it is not the fault of the state government as it is on record that the governor did fulfil his promise of ensuring that civil servants in the state get their salaries before the yuletide celebration, but the situation that is being faced right now in the banks is applicable in other states and not only in Bayelsa state.
“As a proactive government, we have decided to inform our people that we are currently engaging and interfacing with the various banks to ensure that civil /public servants and Bayelsans in general would receive their entitlement to ease the pain and stress that they may face.”
In Taraba State, long queues resumed in banks within Jalingo, the state capital, as account holders in various commercial banks and civil servants made frantic efforts to make withdrawals in preparation for the Christmas celebration.
Our correspondent who visited some banks operating in the state observed long queues at First Bank of Nigeria, Guranty Trust, Stanbic IBTC, Fidelity, Zenith FCMB, Eco bank Diamond bank and Sky bank.
Some customers, who spoke to our correspondent, expressed their frustrations over network failure and the inability of most ATMs to dispense cash.
A customer, Mr Innocent Ibiodu, told LEADERSHIP Friday that he had gone to more than six banks before he could make his withdrawal.
In Delta State, It was gathered that long queues of depositors at the ATM machines caused a harrowing experience for customers who resorted to shouting match among themselves.
For instance, in Asaba and Warri, the situation was said to be chaotic for depositors who, in most cases, were anxious to withdraw their money. At various banks such as UBA, First Bank, and Union Bank, among others, depositors’ experiences were pitiable.
One of the bank depositors, Mrs. Marry Ogbeideh, said, “I have been at the UBA ATM stand since morning. I could not withdraw my money; when it got to my turn, the ATM could not pay again”.
Also, bank customers in Calabar yesterday decried the continuous long queues and unavailability of cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the metropolis.
Checks by our correspondent indicated that virtually all the ATMs situated along Ndidem Usang Isong road between the hours of 2pm and 4pm on Thursday could not dispense cash to anxious looking customers.
Most of the ATMs visited had the following message, “Temporarily out of service” among others, signalling network failure..
In Kaduna, our correspondent who visited banks around the metropolis witnessed large numbers of customers who were there either to withraw money or make deposits.
Several of such banks visited saw large customers queuing beside most of the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) to make withdrawals or transfer as the case may be.
Some of the customers who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday said they had been on queue for almost two hours trying to make withdrawals.
“I have been on queue for almost two hours now, the machine is very slow in dispensing cash and I need money to buy some things for Christmas celebration”, said Mrs Juliana Danladi.
It has been hectic for bank customers in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in the last couple of days as rush to cash money for the festive period gathered momentum.
The experience of customers in Lokoja varied from bank to bank, as some customers lamented their difficulty in making withdrawals in the banks, while others complained about ATMs not dispensing cash, as well as the long queues.
Some of them said they waited on the queues for about four hours and at the point of getting the money, the cash had already been drained from the machine’s vaults, resulting in so many people being disappointed.
However, those whose salary in the state had entered the bank expressed confidence that when the period is over, they are sure of collecting their money.