Most commercial banks in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, shut down there operations at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, following alledged security challenges occassioned by the general elections. Some of the banks visited by newsmen included Zenith Bank, Guarantee Trust (GTB), Ecobank, Unity Bank, Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank and First Bank of Nigeria.
At the GTB, Area 3, Abuja, most customers who came to make transactions at about 1.35 p.m. were not allowed into the bank. According to an official of the bank, who preferred anonymity, the bank’s managment directed its closure by 1 p.m. He attributed the closure to fear of the unknown and the outcome of the ongoing collation of presidential election.
A customer at the bank, Mr Joseph Haruna, said he received a mail from GTB, informing him that the bank would close at 2 p.m., only to get to the bank at 1.37 p.m. and was told it closed at 1 p.m. Another customer at Fidelity Bank in Area 8, Abuja, Mrs Florence Joshua, told pressmen that she did not get any advance notice from the bank concerning closure.
Joshua said,“ I am very angry and disappointed with my bank, Fidelity, because they did not inform me about their closure and this transaction I want to make is very important that I do it today. Also at the First Bank in Central Area, some customers were seen performing various transactions at the bank. Mr Gabriel Uche, a customer, said he learnt the First Bank would be closed at 2 p.m., prompting him to rush to the bank to send some money to his family for the Easter celebration.
However, at the Unity Bank and Diamond Bank, officials of the banks, who prefered anonymity, said the banks had not given any notice of closure. The official at the Diamond Bank said that the bank might decide to shut down before 4 p.m. because of fear of the unknown. It was observed that the Automated Teller Machines in the various banks were dispensing cash with only few customers.