The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has appealed to Nigerians to remain patient and understanding, rather than attacking banks, which would only increase the crisis.
ASSBIFI’s President, Mr Olusoji Oluwole, made this known at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos.
Oluwole said that such attacks had amounted to personal losses by innocent Nigerians and injuries sustained by members of the public, while members in the Insurance sector were faced with claims of more than N2 billion.
He also expressed dismay over the lack of response or condemnation of those acts by bodies or individuals saddled with the responsibility of supervising or protecting the industry and its workers.
‘’There were some communities that were attacked recently; in those entire communities, they probably have four or five banks operating there: you attack all of them, you burn them down.
‘’Today, that community is going to be without banking service; so, what is the point in going out to attack those people. So, it will be better for those banks not to be opened if they do not have cash.
‘’The public should be patient to listen, understand, and be able to share their own experiences.
‘’We found out that some of the people who have come out to attack banks in the last couple of weeks have also, at some point in time, been able to draw money from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM).
‘’People should also understand that, just as they are affected, even workers in banks are affected; the general public need to understand that, ‘’ he said.
The ASSBIFI boss said that there was need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully engage all relevant stakeholders in immediately looking beyond printing new notes as recommended by the council of state.
According to him, the apex bank should instead fashion out immediate ways to enhance alternative means of transactions that would be devoid of failures and restore confidence in the cashless system.
‘’As far as we are concerned, the release of the old N200 notes or the printing of new notes are not the real solution to the matter.
‘’It is something that is desired, but we must look at the alternatives that are there, and begin to build those alternatives immediately; you do not have to wait until the next crises to start looking at those things.
‘’These are things that should have been addressed; we spoke about infrastructure; penetration; the people in the rural area; the unbanked still depend on cash.
‘’So, If we are not careful, what is going to happen is that we are still going to end up where we started from: having the same amount of currency that the government is trying to mop up with the statement that has been made, ‘’ he said. (NAN)