Nigerians have called for a boycott of Access Bank after it froze the accounts of people linked to last month’s protest against police brutality.
Premium Times reported on Sunday that the Central Bank of Nigeria had obtained an order from a federal high court in the capital Abuja to freeze 20 such accounts held in Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.
The account holders were linked to weeks-long protests by mostly young Nigerians demanding the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which they accused of violent crimes.
The #BoycottAccessBank hashtag has gathered momentum in the Nigerian Twitter community over the last 24 hours.
“I’m closing my Access Bank account on Monday. They are corrupt and will not blink to leak your details, even if a mad man requests it. Shut it down now,” Twitter user Uduak Inwang aka Cavil (@cavilT) posted.
Another user, OurFavOnlineDoc (@DrOlufunmilayo), said the bank needed to suffer for its “stupidity”.
“If we don’t punish Access Bank for their madness – working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to oppress young people – the govt will be emboldened to carry out such insanity again in future. Boycott Access Bank. Move your cash to another bank. Even if it’s 10 000 naira.”
In a statement on Thursday, Access Bank said it sympathised with its customers whose accounts had been frozen due to the court order, adding the matter would be resolved as soon as possible.
“It is common knowledge that we and the entire banking industry are regulated entities and therefore operate under the authority of our regulators and law enforcement agencies. As such, we are compelled to comply with regulatory directives,” the bank said.
Meanwhile, Ripples Nigeria reported that the Nigerian army had told a judicial panel of inquiry in Lagos on Saturday that its personnel evacuated about N2 billion (about R80 million) from banks after delinquents attacked the financial institutions and business outlets.