Kabiru Haruna Isa
I have been a loyal customer of Diamond/Access Bank Plc., and I can say without any fear of contradiction that I opened my first bank account with them. I have been banking with them for almost one and a half decades. In fact, I have been serving as a volunteer marketer to the Bank as I convinced many people, including colleagues, friends and family members, to open accounts with it ostensibly because of the hitherto quality services it delivered.
With the implementation of the cashless policy, millions of Nigerians, including myself, are forced to rely on and use alternative payment platforms such as MoniePoint, Opay, Squad and Momo Agent, to mention just a few. The services of these payment platforms are a double-edged sword which eases transactions and creates ceaseless suffering simultaneously for the poor and downtrodden Nigerians. They are also used, in some instances, especially by the agents who render services at the Point of Sale (POS), to extort powerless, hapless and helpless customers. From the time this cashless policy was introduced, millions of Nigerians were robbed of their hard-earned money by some financial service providers, and unfortunately, nobody seems to care to fight for the financial rights of these innocent victims.
And so it happened to me on the 10th day of March 2023. I stopped over at Gidan Maza Quarters, Kumbotso LGA, Kano, to make a transfer at one of the POS kiosks around. The POS agent used the MoMo Agent terminal to transfer some amount to my Access Bank account. And based on the receipt given to me, the transaction went successfully. I waited for the whole day, but my account was not credited. To cut a long story short, today 31st day of March, is exactly three weeks, but my money is still hanging at only God knows where.
I complained continuously to the MoMo agent who operates the POS kiosk, but he informed me that there was virtually nothing he could do to facilitate the unconditional release of my money. As a last option, he took me to the Office of MoMo Agent to lodge my complaint directly to the service providers. What I found shocking and troubling during my interaction with the officials was that MoMo Agent used to partner with Access Bank to provide financial services to their customers, but the relations of the duo got strained due to allegedly petty jealousy, business rivalry and unhealthy competition.
The pertinent question here is why should the business tussle between MoMo Agent and Access Bank rob Nigerians of their hard-earned money. Why these financial service providers should be allowed to inflict systematic and psychological torture on their innocent customers? What are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the NDIC and other Financial Regulators doing? The Government should know that many Nigerians are going to bed with empty stomachs because of the rivalry and skirmishes between these financial service providers. The worst part of it is that when customers go to the branches of the bank to complain, they are subjected to long and interminable waits, after which the customer care unit will only succeed in rubbing salt into the wounds. They treat customers with disdain and make sure that they maximally frustrate and confound their misery.
I finally call upon the CBN to inquire, investigate and take necessary action(s) on the ongoing tussle between MoMo Agent and Access Bank so as to end the suffering of Nigerians. The apex bank should equally penalize any of these financial service providers that are guilty of illegally withholding customers’ money.
A lesson is enough for the wise. With the kind of trouble, trauma and travail I underwent following up on this issue throughout these past three weeks, I will flee from any POS kiosk that I see using the MoMo Agent terminal, more so when it is from my Diamond/Access Bank account that I want to transact from. As a matter of fact, I am contemplating closing my Diamond/Access Bank account unless everything is rectified. This is due to the genuine fear I have that whatever happens once can and will indeed happen again.
Dr Kabiru writes from the Department of History, Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached via email@example.com.
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