Customers Besiege Banks To Update Accounts

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Customers besieged banks in Asaba yesterday in a bid to beat the December 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to update their accounts.

The banking halls and parking lots were filled with customers and cars, forming long queues beyond the banks’ premises.

This led to traffic build up along major roads in Asaba where some banks are located.

Some of the customers, who spoke with our correspondent, said the CBN should consider extending the closing date for the exercise.

Mrs Cecilia Nwadishu, a trader, lamented that the information came to her very late, adding, “I saw the queue and decided to find out what was happening’’.

“It was then they told me that I must go and update my account or it will be closed after December 31,’’ she said.

Mr Innocent Okogwu, a civil servant, said he got the information on Wednesday when he came to withdraw money from the bank.

Okogwu said: “I based in Lokoja. I came home to celebrate the Christmas and the New Year and I will not go back until January 4, 2011.

“I have never heard of anything like that; I was surprised when I saw the crowd in the bank on Wednesday and I enquired from them and I was told what to do.

“But my major handicap is that I do not have my residence’ NEPA bill in Lokoja here with me.

“So, I have just filled in my home town address and submitted our current NEPA bills,’’ he added.

However, a bank official, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the order to update account has been on for more than a month but “our people are used to last minute rush”.

“The rush to revalidate actually started on December 23 and the tempo heightened on Wednesday, December 29, immediately we resumed from the Christmas break.

“So far, we have recorded more than 2,000 applications in this branch alone and as you can see, more customers are coming in to make their request,’’ the official said.

The official was not certain if CBN would extend the date but advised that people should make use of the available time.

Banks created special desks to attend to customers, who came to update their accounts and the customers needed to fill a personal information form at the bank and present their national identity card, international passport or driver’s licence as part of the requirements.