Some bank security guards in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, set up an illegal mobile money shop to extort customers intending to use the bank’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) on Tuesday, HumAngle learnt
Eyewitnesses reported the incident which took place at a First Bank branch Nigerian Port Authority Road, Onne, between 8 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday.
HumAngle gathered that the men, who were deployed to guard the bank, resorted to taking advantage of customers by refusing them access to the ATMs.
They claimed that the ATMs were not dispensing cash.
The security allegedly coerced customers to transfer money to the account of one of the two guards on duty, who collected a percentage of the money collected and handed cash to the customer.
According to eyewitnesses, the security guards charged N400 for every N5,000 transaction which could be transferred at once or deducted.
It operated similar to the mobile money system operated by banks in rural areas. However, customers told HumAngle that they left “with no choice in this case,” obliged.
Chika Agu, whose cousin was a victim narrated the ordeal to HumAngle. He said, “I got a disturbing call from my cousin in Port Harcourt.
“He is an essential worker still going about his duties. He stopped to use the ATM but the security guards stopped him and others from having access to the ATM.
“Instead, they were asked to transfer money to the security guard’s account and he gave them cash.
“He then charges a percentage of the withdrawal as his fee.
“No one should make the life of another person hard. Life is already hard. How is a security guard in possession of so much cash?” he asked.
HumAngle gathered that the guard used a First Bank account number which he distributed to customers for money transfer.
Although First Bank has been unreachable for an official comment, some customers who were allegedly extorted by the guards have complained to the bank.
One of the customers, who spoke anonymously, received an apology from the bank’s customer care and was given an assurance that an internal investigation would be conducted.
The bank said, “Thank you for bringing this to our notice. We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused.
“Kindly assist with the exact branch and the security personnel’s account number and the initiator’s account to enable us to escalate as appropriate.”