Cheta Nwanze: Nigerian banks should be held for murder

by Cheta Nwanze

This tweet, a few months ago, brought home to me, just how horrible Nigerian banks, and/or their staff, could be. Bank account details, are pieces of information that are so deeply personal, that in a civilised country, only an order from a Federal court can make those details to be divulged, even to the police.

On Friday, an old woman was murdered.

Those of you who are into Nigerian history, will have heard of her son, Dr. Nowa Omoigui. Those of you who pay attention to the news, can’t have missed her daughter, Ifueko.

Madam Omoigui had gone to the Sapele Road, Benin branch of GTB to withdraw money, and ended up dead. From what I have been told, a bank teller informed armed robbers about her withdrawal, and they followed her home to rob her. When the criminals accosted her, she did not resist, she gave them the money, still they pumped bullets into her at close range.


This, an elderly woman!

In the end, she had to be rushed to Oghara hospital in Delta state because neither UBTH nor Specialist Hospital in Benin had a ventilator and other crucial equipment.

This is shocking, and devastating!

Something has to give. A few years ago, a friend of my Dad’s was kidnapped, in Benin. He told the kidnappers that he had no money, and they informed him of his precise bank account balance, and gave him his last three transactions, including the payment of fees for his kid who was doing a course in a foreign university.

When things like this happen, banks should be held culpable for the criminal actions of their criminal employees. Since we live in a useless country that likes collective guilt, then the banks should be held culpable for making their customers vulnerable to theft and possible murder because of their failure to create checks and balances within their system.

Banks in Nigeria must take responsibility for protecting their customers by restricting the amount of information tellers are privy to, if anything for the customer’s privacy and safety! A teller does not need to know a customer’s account balance or more importantly, their home address. All a teller should have access to in the system is whether the customer standing in front of him has a large enough bank balance to make the requested withdrawal or not. Failure to adhere to this, and the bank should be punished for corporate manslaughter.

Enough is enough. God rest the dead.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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