Thursday, July 10, 2003

Commercial activities pick up in Lagos

From Olumide Bajulaiye

After nine days of industrial action nation wide, commercial and business activities in Lagos State swung back, as many banks were besieged by customers.

Investigation by Eko Trust revealed that commercial banks located within the state were invaded by distressed customers who came to withdraw money.

At most of the banks visited by Eko Trust correspondent, on Lagos Island, Victoria Island and Ikeja was a beehive of activities tight to put security.

Some of the banks according to their officials have to call for more assistance from the police, as the normal security guards and police attached to them could not withstand the crowd.

According to a bank official, who spoke under disguise, told our correspondent that they found it difficult to control the crowd, because most of their staffs could not report for work early, occasioned by the fuel scarcity.

EKO Trust further gathered that indications are rife that many of the banks may work behind the normal banking hours because of the flooded customers who refused to leave without cashing their cheques.

Some of the customers at most of the banks had vowed that they must cash their cheques before going back home, because they have incurred a lot of debts while the strike lasted.

"My brother, nobody can ask me to go home and come back tomorrow. I have borrowed more than enough from people and I must pay them when I get home," a customer said.

At most public offices, workers reported to work late, occasioned by the fuel scarcity while those who reported merely, stayed an hour before heading to bank.

Most workers were as busy as usual, as business transactions went on, while others lamented the hardship they went in the last nine days.

At, Balogun, Oshodi, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ketu, Mile 12 markets buying and selling went on without any molestation or harassment, as most house wives went for food stuffs.