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04.11.2022 Featured First Bank Asked Customer to Unblock Her Account, Then N900,000 Vanished

Published 4th Nov, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

Muibat Olayemi, a Lagos coconut trader, has accused First Bank of negligence resulting in the loss of the N900,000 in her account to unknown persons.

Jamiu Olayemi, Muibat’s son, told FIJ that a man approached his mother as an Airtel service agent on October 10, asking for her phone in order to determine whether her National Identity Number (NIN) was linked to her phone number. 

The next day, Muibat visited the First Bank branch in Abule Egba and realised that N190,000 had been deducted from her bank account. 

READ ALSO: Student Misses Test Over First Bank’s Failure to Release Her N50,000 Tuition

“A man came to my mother’s shop claiming to work with Airtel. He asked my mother for her phone and said he wanted to do something about her NIN. My mom had been having issues with her phone. She could make calls but couldn’t receive calls. So, she innocently gave the man her phone. This was on October 10. I don’t know what he did to the phone, but my mother found out that about N190,000 had been deducted from her bank account when she went there the following day,” Jamiu told FIJ on Friday. 

“My mom called to notify me of her missing money. I advised her to tell her bank to block the account, which was done. The next day, which was October 12, I went to the bank to confirm how the money left my mother’s account. They told us that the money left the bank account via USSD. I asked for a statement of account and the bank officials told me to write to the bank to unblock the bank account. 

“I wrote to the bank and got the account statement. The statement showed that the money left her account in N20,000 recharge bits and N10,000 transfers to a few other bank accounts. When I saw this, I asked the bank for an investigation into the accounts the stolen money went into.”

Jamiu told FIJ that he told the bank that he wanted no one else to have access to his mother’s bank account and suggested the bank deactivate the USSD and internet banking services on the account.

“I told them that the account should be locked and only my mother should be able to make withdrawals at the bank. So, I was surprised when my mom called me to tell me that her remaining funds had been deducted from the same account. This was on October 18.

“This was a bank account that was supposed to be under investigation. I didn’t know why they did not disable the USSD after I told them to block the account. When I saw the account statement on October 18, I noticed that the money was deducted in N20,000 and N10,000 bits.”

READ ALSO: One Year After Receiving Services, First Bank Still Owes Augene Business Synergy N1.9m

Muibat Olayemi's account statement on October 18
Muibat Olayemi's account statement on October 18
Muibat Olayemi's account statement on October 18
Muibat Olayemi's account statement on October 18
Muibat Olayemi’s account statement on October 18

According to Jamiu, the Abule Egba branch manager did not attend to him until he and his mother went to complain at the Meiran Police Division.

“They told me to do whatever I wanted to do. So, I called the First Bank contact centre and discovered that the account was never under investigation. They did nothing, and their negligence led to the loss of the N900,000 left in my mother’s account. The branch manager attended to us because we brought the Meiran Police Station’s IPO to the bank,” Jamiu said.

“It was when I went to First Bank’s headquarters in Marina that I was told that the branch wanted me to unblock the bank account to retrieve a service charge for the statement we requested, not for an investigation. I was directed to First Bank’s fraud unit and we made some progress.

“They allowed us to lose N900,000 because of an N80 service charge. First Bank has queried the Abule Egba branch for this already, but we want a refund of what we’ve lost.

“If the first theft of N190,000 was our fault, the N900,000 was due to the negligence of that bank. This has taken a serious toll on my mom’s wellbeing and business. My mother has nothing left in her purse. She’s been down ever since.”

When FIJ contacted First Bank to know how it planned to help Jamiu and his mother, it asked for the customer’s account number before it could “advise appropriately”.

This report was produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation

Published 4th Nov, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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