Between January and June 2019 , four leading banks generated N 24 . 3bn from account maintenance charged on their customers’ accounts, investigation has shown.

This is an increase of about 19 .18 per cent from N 20 . 39 bn generated in the corresponding period in 2018.

Some banks on monthly basis charge their customers N 50 with or without card while some deduct N 1 , 000 from each customer’ s account per annum for maintaining their savings accounts .
The Senate had in 2018 called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the deduction of card maintenance fee.

The upper legislative chamber also directed its banking committee to investigate the deduction in comparison with what obtained in other countries .
The earning of some banks in account maintenance charges may have been propelled by large customer base.

Two leading banks by profit , Zenith Bank Plc and GTBank , for instance , have over 8 .6 million and 16 million customers respectively.

Specifically , Zenith Bank recorded N 9. 57 bn from account maintenance fee in the first six months of 2019 . This reflects 10 . 76 per cent increase over N 8. 64 bn reported in the first six months of 2018.

GTBank Group ’s audited report for the first six months of the year ; N 5 . 71 bn was generated for maintaining customers account in the first six months of the year , up from N 5 . 18 bn in the first six months of 2018.

The merger between Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc aided 96 . 15 per cent increase on account maintenance fees of Access Bank , moving from N 3. 14 bn in the first six months of 2018 to N 6 .16 bn in the first six months of 2019.

Access Bank in its audited result and accounts for the six months ended June 30 said account maintenances fees were fees charged on current account.

“ N 1 on every N 1 , 000 in respect of all induced debit transactions is charged on these accounts , ” Access Bank explained.

The bank noted that card maintenance fees were fees charged customers for maintaining their accounts.

“ The fees are earned and recognised by the bank over the validity year of the card. The bank charged the customers for this service on a monthly basis , ” extract from the bank ’s audited six months result for the period ended June 30 to the Nigerian Stock Exchange explained.

The United Bank for Africa Plc, on the other hand , reported 16 . 3 per cent increase on account maintenance fees , N 3. 39 bn , in the first six months of the year , up from N 2 .9 bn in the first six months of 2018 .

The President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka , explained that the guide to charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria , 2017 made no provision for “ Account Maintenance Fee ” .

Ogubunka , a former Registrar and Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, added , that the CBN guideline , however , provided for ‘Current Account Maintenance Fee ’.

He noted that the CBN guide prescribed that the rate chargeable by a bank for this fee was negotiable with a customer subject to a maximum of N 1. 00 per mille”.

Ogubunka said, “ Consequently , no bank is authorised to make this charge without first , negotiating with the customer and the agreed rate must not be more than N 1 .00 per mille.

“ How many customers know that they ought to negotiate with banks on this fee? How many cross -check and verify the type, amount and basis of charges entered into their accounts by their banks ? How many seek redress when necessary ?

“ Nevertheless , the Guide ’s provision , directly or indirectly , places the burden on the banks . It is their responsibility to call the attention of their customers for negotiation.”

He called on regulators and supervisors of banks in the country to investigate and confirm that banks are complying with regulatory provisions on account maintenance charges.

According to him , CBN needs to impose deterrent sanctions on any bank found , not just violating the regulations but more fundamentally , cheating customers as well as putting the reputation of banks and bankers in disrepute.

He asked bank customers to examine their accounts periodically , with a view to ensuring they were managed in accordance with the rules / regulations of banking operation in the country.

IPOB can’t attack me outside Nigeria, says Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said members of the Indigenous People of Biafra cannot attack him outside Nigeria.

He stated this in Obosi, Anambra State against the background of reports that IPOB members had threatened to attack politicians of the South-East geopolitical zone if they were sighted anywhere outside the country.

He said the secessionists would have a moral burden to attack him because he protected them and their interests when he was the governor of Anambra State.

He added that IPOB was not set up to be a violent group.

Ngige said, “IPOB was registered by the late President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife and other Igbo as a non-violent group.
What is going on now in the group is not part of the work plan . I visited the United States of America recently, and I was welcomed by IPOB members.

“They knew I fed and protected them when I was in office as governor. I have said it several times that Biafra cannot be achieved the IPOB way.

“The Igbo should stop shouting marginalisation. They should stand up and assert themselves to be counted. Nigeria belongs to all of us.

“Equity favours the Igbo to produce the next president of the country, but they must work hard and position themselves for it.

“We should stop political sentiments. Politicians don’t give power based on sentiment and emotion. President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is favourable to an Igbo president.

“We must support him and associate with the APC. Nobody will give you president of Nigeria in your bedroom.”