Starting from Monday, customers in Nigeria may experience difficulties accessing new naira notes as bank workers are preparing to embark on a strike. According to The Nation, the industrial action is a result of attacks on bank workers by depositors attempting to exchange old N1000, N500, and N200 notes for new ones.
The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has directed bank employees to refrain from working in any state where banks are attacked by customers due to cash scarcity. The strike is expected to continue daily until normalcy is restored, as confirmed by the association’s President, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole.
In a statement dated February 17, 2023, with reference number ANS/WR/JA/OP/5018 and addressed to all unit presidents and secretaries, the directive reads: “The National Secretariat has been inundated with reports of threats and attacks on the lives and properties of members and bank branches, and subsequently has been on the field to monitor and confirm the reports. We issued warnings and appeals to the government to provide security measures for the safety of lives and properties of our members within and around the bank premises. However, regrettably, the attacks have continued without any form of security for the safety of our members, with the recent being the attack on Friday, February 17th, 2023, on one bank branch in Epe, Lagos State.
“We cannot leave the lives and properties of our members exposed to obvious danger. Consequently, all members should immediately stay away from work in any state where bank branches are attacked. This is to continue every day until normalcy is restored. Please note, you will be availed further directives as events develop.”
The situation could have serious implications for bank customers who may face difficulties in accessing new naira notes, particularly during a period of cash scarcity. The strike is also expected to cause disruptions in the banking sector, leading to delays in transactions and other banking services.