*Hinges continued banking operations to staff safety IG
*warns against unguarded utterances over naira redesign
Kingsley Nwezeh and James Emejo in Abuja
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) yesterday said it was working with the Body of Banks’ Chief Executives to address the current challenges in the naira redesign policy and appealed to the general public to remain calm and eschew any act of violence.
This is coming as the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba has warned groups and individuals against divisive comments and utterances over the new naira policy.
In a statement signed by its President/Chairman of Council, Mr. Ken Opara, CIBN stated that the banking industry remained resolute and committed to addressing all the challenges, promising that the banks would continue to remain open to serve the public “as long as it is safe to do so”.
According to him, the safety and security of the staff of banks are of paramount importance, “Hence, where there is a security challenge, the management of banks have been empowered to take proactive measures to close operations in such locations and inform the Central Bank of Nigeria,” Opara said.
He said the safety concerns being expressed in various quarters were already being addressed.
“Banks will continue to ensure that adequate security is in place to protect staff and customers whilst safeguarding the assets of the banks in contending with the current challenge,” he added.
Opara appealed to the public to remain calm and eschew any act of violence, pointing out that the banking industry would remain resolute and committed to finding ways to address all the related issues.
“We indeed appreciate you for your continued patience and understanding as we work together towards restoring normalcy,” he added.
CIBN’s reassurance came as the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) had earlier ordered banks’ staff to stay off duties, following a series of attacks on banking staff and bank facilities.
In a notice sent to all unionised banks, ASSBIFI President, Mr. Olusoji Oluwole, cited the continued attacks on workers and banks’ facilities across the country as reason for the directive.
The ASSBIFI had also warned against transferred aggression and attacks on bank workers.
Olusoji had said: “We value the lives of our members and colleagues and will not put them at any further risk.
“We have put them on alert and shall instruct them without further warning to immediately stay away from their branches if these attacks on our members and facilities continue until such a time that they can be guaranteed of their personal safety and the security of their workplaces by the relevant authorities.”
He said: “We call on the public to desist from threatening or attacking our members, or destroying our property as they will be only proverbially cutting their noses to spite their faces. We can only give what we have been provided with and nothing more.”
Meanwhile, the IG, Baba who warned against unguarded utterances amidst the prevailing outcries and reactions on the new naira policy in the country, cautioned groups and individuals against divisive comments and utterances capable of heating up the polity and triggering a crisis in the nation.
A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer and Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the warning became imperative as “the police perceive the reactions and utterances of certain groups and individuals as an attempt to heat up the polity and spontaneously instigate the populace against the government and its policies for their peculiar interests and gains.
“The NPF, therefore, charges the citizenry to remain calm and embrace peace as the federal government has assured that it is taking the bull by the horn, assiduously to address the scarcity of naira and fuel and restore normalcy in all sectors.
Similarly, the Nigerian populace is hereby urged to desist from any act of violence, hooliganism, and vandalism that may jeopardise the ongoing electoral process, which is significant and critical in the transitional advancement of democracy in Nigeria.
“The NPF would like to assure the general public that it is working in concert with defence, security, and intelligence agencies to provide a peaceful environment for all citizens to conduct their socio-economic activities”, the statement said.