The social distancing directive by the Anambra State Government was flouted by banks and their customers in Awka, Anambra State, as the customers stormed banks in the state to carry out transactions, report Alexander Johnson Adejoh, Ukeje Precious and Mercy Hill.
At some of the places visited by Fides last Tuesday, it was observed that some of the customers were without face masks, even as they flouted the social distancing requirement.
At United Bank of Africa (UBA) Ukwu-Orji, Awka, many customers were seen standing on the queue inside the banking hall, with some others sitting as they filled bank tellers waiting to be attended to. Interestingly, social distancing was not observed.
It was the same at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Eke Awka, where an official of the bank, when asked why social distancing was not observed, simply said, they were Nigerians and refused to elaborate, claiming he was not in the best position to speak to the media.
Meanwhile, the same scenario played out at Access Bank, Zik Avenue, Awka, as a large number of customers were also seen, even more than was the case at FCMB, Eke Awka.
Speaking to Fides, one of the customers blamed the situation on lack of proper arrangement by the bank management.
But the security officials and the bank management on the ground claimed that the customers were too stubborn and had refused to listen to advice on the maintenance of the three feet social distance.
‘These people don’t believe that there is coronavirus; we begged them but they refused to listen. You too can talk to them if they will listen to you,’ a security guard at Access Bank told Fides.
A customer at Access Bank, Ziks Avenue, who identified himself as Mr Emmanuel Uchechukwu, told Fides about the frustrations they encountered, pointing out that they were hungry and needed to resolve some transactions at the bank.
‘We have been indoors for weeks; no palliative, no help from anybody. I personally made some transactions that failed.
‘I transferred some money to my brother in Kano and I was debited twice but he was not credited; do you expect me to sit at home when my family are almost dying of starvation?’ he asked.
He further expressed disappointment in what he described as eye service portrayed by the Management of Access Bank in supporting the Federal Government with 1 Billion Naira to fight COVID-19.
‘Why should they give such huge amount of money to the government when they know they do not have the resources to cater for the welfare of their staff? I even heard they had to sack some of their staff,’ Uchechukwu said.
For his part, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed displeasure with the managements of banks, nationwide, warning that the country could experience an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases because of the disregard for safety guidelines by citizens.