Millions of Nigerians were left stranded and frustrated on
Friday when Automated Teller Machines in most banks
across the country dispensed less cash in some cases and
failed to dispense cash in some other instances.
Many of the customers, who had hoped to get enough cash
from the ATMs to pay bills and shop for food items and
other goods ahead of the Christmas break this weekend,
went home disappointed after waiting in long queues for
In Lagos for example, angry customers desperate for cash
turned the heat on bank workers in some parts of the city,
mounting repeated pressure on them to provide them with
At the Iyana Ipaja branch of a new generation commercial
bank, enraged customers nearly beat up a bank worker,
who ignored their queries for explanation following the
failure of the three ATMs within the bank premises to
One of our correspondents, who visited the area around
12:00 noon on Friday, witnessed the ugly scenario. Six
ATMs in three other banks within the neighbourhood also
failed to dispense cash.
In the Ketu and Mile 12 areas of the city on Friday
morning, only two ATMs inside a branch of an old
generation bank at Kosofe bus-stop dispensed cash.
The development led to a very long queue in the bank’s
premises for most part of the day, while a large crowd of
desperate customers also besieged its main banking hall.
A middle-aged man, who stormed the bank around
10:30am, begged others in the queue to be allowed to use
the machine as according to him, he had been trying to get
cash all the way from Ikorodu following an emergency he
had on his hands.
“Please my dear people, kindly allow me to use the
machine, I have an emergency case at hand, I came all the
way from Ikorodu to this place, no ATM was working in
all the banks I visited at Agric, Garage and Ebutte.
Please, I am begging you,” the customer was heard saying
by one of our correspondents, who was there at the time.
The man was later allowed to use the machine by those he
had met at the place after repeated pleas from him.
At the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s Redemption
Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday,
bank customers were also left frustrated as they moved from
bank to bank in a desperate attempt to lay their hands on
cash via the ATMs.
The situation inside the banking halls was not different
either, as customers waited in endless queues without any
hope of getting cash.
In Abeokuta, Ogun State, many commercial banks had to
deal with a large turnout of customers, most of whom
were there to make withdrawals.
The ATM points of many of the commercial banks were
dotted with long queues of customers from as early as 7am.
The customers had one complaint or the other about the
ATM services in the banks. Some of them said the
network was slow, while others said the ATMs could only
dispense N5,000 instead of N20, 000 at a time.
A customer, Adedamola Abiodun, at one of the banks, told
one of our correspondents that he had been in the queue for
almost one hour and yet it had not got to his turn.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, bank customers also had
difficulties withdrawing money from ATMs.
One of our correspondents, who took a tour of the city on
Friday, observed long queues at ATMs in most banks
while the same was witnessed in the banking halls.
Some bank workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the traffic of customers was heavy because, apart from
being the festive period, some companies paid their workers’
salaries on Thursday.
He said, “The long queues are expected because as you
know, people need money to purchase items in readiness for
Some of the customers, however, expressed dissatisfaction
at the bank’s services. They said the banks did not prepare
for the busy season.
Another customer in Dugbe area, which is the busiest
commercial district in Ibadan, Mary Adekola, said she
was annoyed that the bank she patronised did not attend to
the problem of customers staying in the sun while ATMs
“I am annoyed because out of the six ATMs, only two
were actually dispensing cash. The rest stopped working
soon as I reached there. We were more than 100 waiting
to be served by two slow ATMs,” said Adekola, an editor
in a publishing firm around Jericho area of the city.
Residents of Osogbo and some other towns in Osun State,
who visited various banks to make withdrawals, also went
One of our correspondents observed that some customers
were at various ATMs as early as 6:30am to withdraw
money to buy food items.
Oloruntoba Adedeji, a customer, said there were unusually
long queues at ATMs because the state government just paid
three months’ salaries for workers on Thursday.
Adedeji said, “I left Ilobu to come and use the ATM in
Osogbo because of the long queues.”
There were also long queues of people waiting to
withdraw money from ATMs in many branches of
commercial banks especially in Ilorin, the Kwara State
capital, on Friday.
One of our correspondents, who monitored the development
at branches of banks at the Unity Road, Taiwo Road,
Murtala Muhammed Way, Tanke, Adewole and Zango
areas, noticed many bank customers in the queues
The bank customers in some branches noted that they had so
much difficulty withdrawing cash in some other branches.
They lamented that some of them had come to withdraw
cash so that they could travel to their hometowns while
others wanted to withdraw money for Christmas shopping.
Most ATMs in Bauchi State were also crowded on
Friday as many of the machines failed to dispense cash.
A customer who spoke to Saturday PUNCH lamented that he spent close to two hours trying to transfer money to his business partner.
He said, “It is frustrating when you go to the bank and
you spend hours and you still cannot achieve your aim.”
In Katsina, a large crowd of bank customers swarmed
around different ATMs on Friday. Even though many of
the machines were dispensing cash, customers had to endure
long hours in the queue to access their funds.
In Delta State, over 100 customers, who had been in the
queue at an ATM in the premises of a new generation
bank, were left fuming after the only machine dispensing cash
The bank located on Ughelli Road, witnessed a large
turnout of desperate customers for most parts of the day on
A frustrated customer, who identified himself only as
Ochare, said, “I went to my bank’s branch on Friday
along Ughelli Patani Road to collect cash but later inside
the bank, a man believed to be the manager addressed us
that they couldn’t pay more than N50, 000 until 11am. I
wanted to withdraw N100, 000, so I issued another cheque
and reduced the cash. Again, the man came and announced
they couldn’t pay more than N20, 000. I cancelled the
previous cheque and wrote N20, 000.”
Long queues were observed in most of the banks in the
Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
A resident, who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria , Mrs. Esther Uche, lamented that despite waiting in the sun for more than 20 minutes, she could not withdraw money.
Also, a bank customer, Mr. Gabriel Okwoche, said it was
unfortunate that banks did not prepare to meet customers’
demands during the Christmas period.
When contacted, the Vice-President, Association of
Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks, Mr. Charles
Aigbe, declined to comment on the matter. He said he could
only speak for his own bank, United Bank for Africa,
which he said was doing well as far as ATM transactions