Two pressure groups – the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (COFAN) and the Coalition of Nigerian Consumer Protection Associations – have called on all Nigerians to observe a “no banking day” on March 1st and avoid all forms of banking services nationwide.
The call to boycott banking services was made at a press briefing on Monday by the president and founder, CAFON, Sola Salako; and founder, Market Ombudsman, Dr. Ope Banwo, where the groups lamented new charges and stamp duty recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which the groups believed it is illegal.
“There should be no visit to the Automated Teller Machines or the banking halls that day” Salako said.
The CAFON founder who also described the new charges as excessive, said, “For many years now, customers of banking services have endured excessive charges, unexplainable fees and unfair contracts that only protect the banks but do not protect the consumers.
“Banks debit customers’ accounts at will for charges we never agreed to or were not aware of; they charge us for everything; some banks are charging N210 for the use of deposit and transfer forms in their branches!”
The groups also complained that the CBN has frequently introduced banking policies without notice instead of doing better at regulating the sector as well as protecting customers from exploitation. They added that it was disappointing to see hitherto abolished fees being reintroduced by the CBN under new names.
Salako said, “It appears that the banking sector is operating a price fixing cartel called the Bankers’ Committee superintended by the CBN where they determine how much to charge for what.”
The groups also faulted the recently introduced maintenance fees for current accounts and ATM cards as well as the N50 Stamp Duty, maintaining that the flat levy of N50 for every transaction from N1,000 was not equitable and amounted to taking from the poor to enrich the wealthy.
“A student who receives an allowance of N2,000 pays the same amount as a rich man who receives a deposit of N10m! So, the student is technically paying more taxes than the rich man. That is inequitable and unfair” Banwo said.
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