COVID-19: POS operators exploit customers as many ATMs fail to dispense cash in Abuja

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Many bank customers in Asokoro, Nyanya and Mararaba areas of Abuja on Thursday cried out against alleged exploitation by Point-of-Sale (POS) operators as many ATMs in the FCT had run out of cash.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), they alleged that most of the banks failed to restock their ATMs since cash previously loaded had been exhausted.

One of the customers, Mr Rufus Abangu, said he visited more than four banks in Asokoro without any luck, hence was left at the mercy of the POS operators, who were charging arbitrarily.

He said that the POS operators charged N200 on each N1000 withdrawal, as against the usual N50 which he had to pay because he needed money desperately.

“The ATM in banks were not dispensing, at that point, I had no choice, as I was forced to patronise the POS operators,” he said.

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Another customer, Madam Remi Oluwole, said that she was ready to pay any amount as charges at any POS point because she had wasted over two hours at the ATM without any luck.

Oluwole said that most operators were capitalising on the fact that most ATMs were not dispensing to exploit customers.

“Don’t blame them, COVID-19 has brought them easy money.

“Will anybody blame President Buhari for this? Is it his duty to restock ATM? The banks are not sympathetic to the plight of their customers,” she said.

A NAN correspondent who went round the area gathered that the ATMs were not dispensing cash.

Customers were seen queued up at ATMs at various locations as early as 6a.m. without cash to dispense.

Meanwhile, Jaiz bank, Mararaba, that was dispensing had a long queue of customers to attend to.

Mr Austin Oyingbo, a customer noted that the banks that were supposed to be more useful during this lockdown period were worsening the situation.

Some of the customers also stated that some shops were willing to sell, using cash transfer, provided the customer agreed to pay extra charges.

At Access Bank in Mararaba, there were 15 points, but only few were dispensing and at a stage all stopped dispensing cash.

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A cross-section of the POS Operators who spoke to NAN on condition of anonimity, said that the instruction came from their owners as they were vendors.

One operator, Mr Ibukun James, said that the pressure was too much on POS and some of them employed extra hands to assist.

“The extra hands must be paid, see people coming from distant places to look for money, we have to satisfy them and make profit also,” he said.

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NAN observed that some motorists also engaged in panic buying at few petrol stations that opened for business.

Similarly at the gas filling stations, there were long queues of cylinders.

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