Urges closure of inactive accounts
By Ajibola Abayomi,
Consumer Advocate Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON) has berated the nation’s Deposit Money Banks for ripping off account owners of running into billions of Naira monthly via unsolicited Global Mobile Service (GSM) messages.
Led by its convener, Sola Salako, CAFON took to the streets of Lagos on Friday to protest what it called excessive bank charges against Nigerians.
Adorning T-shirts and placards with inscription #CloseOneMillionAccount, CAFON members urged Nigerians and cooperate organisations to close all inactive accounts in order to reduce unjustifiable charges on present numbers of bank accounts put at 93 million in the country.
“CAFON is saying to Nigerians, if you have more than two accounts close the rest because the banks will continue to charge you more. Nigeria is the only country where money charged on savings account is more than the supposed interest you are being paid. The SMS is N4 now by next year they can increase it N8. This is crazy in a nation struggling with recession” said Salako.
Accompanied by a Nolly Wood actor, Yvonne Jegede, Salako took a swipe at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) accusing the body of condoning corrupt in the banking sector.
She said the banks were taking advantage of the deliberate loopholes by the CBN to defraud account holders under the guise of corporate services.
“The way and manner banks steal money from hardworking people in the country is criminal. They send account owners SMS messages and charge N4 per transaction. Banks also charge N1000 for Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card apart from the N50 maintenance fee monthly. What are they maintaining?
“Not only that, there is stamp duty charge of N50 not backed by any law. They also send people unsolicited birthday and other messages they don’t ask for yet the banks charge as if these services are not banking related. The messages on many occasions are deliberately splited just to make more money. This is fraud and the CBN is watching the illegality.
“We have over 93 million banks accounts across the banks, multiply N4 by that monthly and get the figure. Some people even get over nine messages in one transaction alone. Last year, banks declared N138 billion realised alone from the SMS messages. In other countries like Ghana and America, these services are free.
“No more banking operations in Nigeria rather these banks are now stealing people’s sweat. We wont allow that to continue” said Salako.