WorldStage Newsonline– Despite measures recommended by health authorities to check the spread of COVID-19 around the world, most banks in Lagos have not been able to enforce the social distancing protocol.
A survey by our correspondent showed that the banks were observing the use of hand sanitizers and face masks as recommended by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), but no social distancing.
An architectural student of Bowen University and Ecobank customer, Mercy Ogbu stated that she had observed that banks were very strict about putting on face masks, they were not observing social distancing.
“The time I went to open an account at Access Bank, I was asked to use my nose mask before gaining entrance and I was given hand sanitizer at the gate.
“Even if you go there tying a handkerchief on your nose, you will be asked to leave the premises or get a facemask from those selling nearby.
“Once you are with your nose mask, they don’t really bother about social distancing.
“Banks have been strict with that aspect of preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they are neglecting the other aspect which can lead to the spread of the deadly disease.
“Sometimes, the banks used to be overcrowded, and people will be asked to stay outside, but still people would still stay together without observing social distancing.”
A customer of Zenith Bank PLC, Joy Matthew, stated that the bank was partially making sure that customers adhere to the COVID-19 protocol, but the way they used to order people to wait outside was not comfortable.
Matthew said: “When I visited Zenith Bank PLC, we were made to wait outside with numbers given as you come. These numbers are called in five or more to proceed into the bank. And while inside the bank, there is little or no social distancing.
“When I also went to Sterling Bank, there was a little observance of social distancing there. The social distancing started from outside where we were told to wait and then when we entered, we were asked to observe certain distance from each other.
“Being told to wait outside doesn’t feel too good. Some banks do not provide shelter where people could wait like in First Bank where most of their branches have shelters.”
Enejo Michael, a security staff with First Bank, Ipaja, maintained that the bank had been trying its best to manage the influx of customers on a daily basis.
“The people that do come to the bank on a daily basis are too many for a branch to manage. Sometimes, the space is not just there to manage the crowd. Banks understand that if they do not adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines, we will be putting our lives in danger.
“Customers can be very rude and stubborn. Give them a directive; they will hit you back with insults. Does one need to tell Nigerians that social distancing is key to abstaining from COVID19? Banks are doing their best and they cannot drag anyone. We cannot manage social distancing because, if you check it very well, it is primarily a personal or individual choice.”
A trader selling nose mask around Ecobank at Iyana ipaja, Lagos State, Yemi Kasim was impressed by how banks had been managing the crowd and other measures to prevent COVID19, but she said that there were violations of social distancing in most banks. A UBA official in a chat said the bank was duty bound to ensure that all customers follow COVID-19 protocols.