Bank customers and ATM
Bank customers using the ATM

In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers informally to one or more Tuesdays early in a United States presidential primary season when the greatest number of states hold primary elections.

The Tuesday is in either February or March of a presidential election year.

In 2016, Super Tuesday happened on March 1 as Trump and Clinton lead the polls on the decision day.

In Nigeria, March 1 was expected to have been another Super Tuesday as banks customers were expected to boycott banks as well as well banking activities either using ATM or online transaction to register their grievances against alleged arbitrary charges imposed on customers by the financial institutions.

Apparently, Tuesday, March 1 was expected to be remarkable as the day was declared No Banking Day by banking day 2


The convener of the protest, President and founder of Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), Sola Salako, was full of optimism that Nigerians would actually shock bank officials by not having anything to do with the banks throughout Tuesday, as banking halls would be empty.

If that had happened, it would have been remarkable achievement as banks would be made to be counting their losses and admit that customers are actually Kings and they should not be taken for granted.

A large number of the Cafon President had given her their supports on social media such as Facebook and twitter pledging to boycott banking activities.
To Salako, the No banking day became necessary to press home anger against banks excessive charges, which include unexplainable fees and unfair contracts designed to protect the financial institutions to the detriment of the banking public.

Others, to her, are indiscriminate debiting of customers’ accounts for charges that are arbitrary and unilateral changes in interest rates by banks, and this without prior notice to the consumers.

Significantly, the protest is coming weeks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) imposed N50 on customers as compulsory stamp duty on deposits of N1,000 and above. The charge, however, is collected on behalf of NIPOST and the Federal Government and it goes to the Federation Account.

Aside friends on Facebook, Salako, as the Super Tuesday beckoned, she got the support of National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria (CSAN), Mr Shehu Mikail, who on Monday also urged all bank users to join ‘No Banking Day’ protest on March 1.

Customers inside a banking hall in Lagos

Mikail, who made the plea in an interview in Lagos, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had directed all commercial banks to charge customers N50 on deposits from N1, 000 and above, as part of Nigeria’s stamp duties law on financial transactions.

“Apart from the above, there are other silent charges administered by Nigerian banks’’ he said.

He said there was need to alert the Federal Government on these excessive charges by Nigerians banks.

Mikail suggested that government should come up with a good economic blue print on how to restructure the economy.

He described the charges as another way of imposing extra tax on the masses, adding that the policy would discourage people from banking.

Mikail said that at present, “Nigeria is largely under-banked especially in rural areas’’.

“So, this type of policy will worsen the situation; in particular for traders doing business in the rural areas.

“It will have negative effects on the cashless monetary policy that is already in place as it is also another way of imposing extra tax on the masses.

“It would discourage people from keeping money in the banks as Nigeria is largely under-banked, especially the rural areas.

‘So, this type of policy will worsen the situation, in particular for traders doing business in the rural areas.

“It will have negative effect on the cashless monetary policy that is already in place.

“The CBN should jettison this method of taxation and come up with a monetary policy that will strengthen the naira to grow the economy, instead of putting another tax burden on the people.

He said that in order to put the CBN and banks on the right track, I plead with all banks users not to carry out any banking transactions on March 1.

“All bank users should not visit banks to transact any business; we should not use our ATM from 12 am to 12 midnight on March 1.

“There should not be any online payment and issuance of any cheque or banking instrument on March 1.

`‘All bank users must avoid any financial transactions on March 1 and if you must, avoid banks.

However, on Tuesday, the D-day, while tension was high that customers would actually comply as most banking halls would be empty throughout the day, as early as possible, the CAFON President when on Facebook to post some pictures indicating strict compliance.

On her Facebook page, the Consumer right advocate had posted series of pictures to indicate that customers had actually shunned the banking halls.

Photo by sola salako
One of the pictures on Sola Salako’s Facebook page indicating 16/01/2009, in which she claimed was taken on 01/03/16

She had captioned the pictures, “Our monitoring team just returned from Ogba, Fagba and Pen Cinema areas of Lagos Mainland Ikeja and these are pictures of bank premises with significantly low turnout and little activity around ATM machines.”

However, to the chagrin of many observers on her page, one of the pictures had a date of 16-1-2009 on it, indicating that it wasn’t a recent picture.

When some people started calling her attention to the date on the pictures, Salako simply replied saying, “Bank premises in Ogba, Fagba, Pen-Cinema areas practically empty between 10am-12noon today. Please ignore the default dates.”

However, when DailyBells Nigeria went round the city to observe the No banking day, many of the banks actually witnessed large turnout of customers.

From the mainland to the Island, the banking halls were witnessing normal banking activities indicating that the protest was not successful as thought.

Many customers who were interviewed actually praised Salako for the initiative but said the awareness was not enough.

Some of the customers feigned ignorance of the No banking day, while others said there was no way they could do without banking because of the nature of their businesses.

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