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Raphael Ede, Enugu
The Enugu State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, called on the Federal Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other financial regulatory institutions to prevail on commercial banks to stop excess charges on the customers.
The Assembly decried the action of the commercial banks who impose unwarranted charges on customers in the country and Enugu State, in particular.
Piqued by the actions of the banks, the Assembly moved a motion, at its plenary, sponsored by Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, the member representing Nsukka East Constituency, to check the ugly trend.
The motion was seconded by Hon. Iloabuchi Aniagu, member representing Nkanu West Constituency.
Hon. Nwamba said that the need to move the motion arose from the myriad of complaints he receives from residents of the state over the ‘unfriendly’ activities of commercial banks operating in the state.
The lawmaker said the motion became imperative because “there is no gainsaying the obvious fact that a high percentage of the Nigerian citizens are living below the poverty line. The indices are there and point to the above fact.
“Therefore, it will be absurd to allow commercial banks operating in Nigeria, especially in Enugu State, to continue to add to the pains of the people by way of imposing unwarranted charges on every transaction carried out by their customers.”
Nwamba said that the unwarranted charges ranged from “transaction alert, interbank withdrawal charge, card maintenance charge, charge for withdrawals above certain limits, on-line transfer charges, among others.
“It is even more annoying that the banks do not inform or solicit the customer’s consent. All they do is to charge you what they care, deduct same and at the end of the month, charge you again for what they call monthly charges.”
He added that observations showed that the banks slammed charges on customers based on independent bank policy and not on uniform basis as it used to be.
He continued, “For instance, it is not what bank A charges for on-line transfer that bank B charges for same volume or transaction, yet the same commercial banks are expected to operate under the same rules and regulations.”
As if with one voice, all the lawmakers, who re-echoed Nwamba’s stand, said it was high time the CBN intervened to save helpless Nigerians from the exploitations.
Hon. Aniago had, while seconding the motion, lamented that the banks were also neck-deep in hidden charges, especially in the area of loan facilities, a situation he said deserved the attention of the apex bank.
The Assembly, therefore, urged the CBN and other financial regulatory authorities in the country “to look into the activities of the commercial banks operating in Nigeria, especially in Enugu State with regards to
the charges on customers’ transactions and stop the multiplicity of charges which they impose on customers’ accounts.”
In a remark after commending the members for a robust debate and passage of the motion, Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, described it as “a serious matter.”
Ubosi frowned at the increasing manner the banks are fleecing their customers, saying that “this matter is a very serious one. You cannot just treat the people anyhow. We shall set up a committee to look into the issues raised.”
According to him, the committee to be set up would hold public hearings and come up with more measures.
“The committee will have one month to conduct public hearings; even if it entails going to the National Assembly, they should do so, in order to put this to an end”, the Speaker said.