First Bank Nigeria Plc has officially acknowledged allegations of an N68 million illegal and fraudulent withdrawal from a customer’s savings account at its Ring Road branch in Benin City.
The customer, Glory Omokaro, a Nigerian based in Italy, raised concerns about the unauthorized depletion of her account, prompting First Bank to respond.
The bank has confirmed the fraudulent activity, noting that a thorough investigation is currently in progress.
In their statement,
First Bank stated, “We confirm the report of fraudulent activity on the account of one of our customers. This incident has been undergoing a very robust investigation since our receipt of the customer’s complaint to holistically unearth what transpired and address the challenge, including satisfying the customer. Unfortunately, this has taken longer than anticipated.”
While the investigation is ongoing, the bank has taken steps to rectify the customer’s account based on their initial findings.
They expressed regret for any inconvenience caused to the customer and emphasized that this incident does not reflect the principles and ethics of their time-tested operations
Glory Omokaro shared her ordeal during an appearance on the popular radio program, Brekete Family, in Abuja.
She explained that she opened a savings account with First Bank’s Ring Road branch in Benin City in 2013, after returning from Italy, where she had been residing since 2005.
Her account remained untouched until 2021 when her ATM card expired.
In her efforts to renew her card, she discovered that her account balance had dramatically decreased.
First Bank initially denied her access to her bank statement, prompting her to involve a lawyer to secure the statement’s release.
It was revealed that substantial amounts had been withdrawn from her account without her knowledge.
First Bank, after initially moving N51.7 million out of her account, eventually returned the money, but further withdrawals were made without her consent until her account balance reached a mere N3,000.
Omokaro sought assistance from authorities, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS), but encountered difficulties in getting their attention
Peter Uvieruve, who spoke for the victim said,
“I met customer care and I was told that I only have N3,000 in my account and not N68 million,”
She however, requested for the statement through a lawyer who wrote the bank. “The statement was released one week later,” Peter said.
“We discovered that on 13, October 2022, they moved N51.7 million out of the account. They returned the money. We suspected that they were checking if she would complain. But she did not notice. After 24 days around November 2022, they withdrew three times from the account. The first was N9 million, then N5 million, N2 million and another N2 million until it was left with N3,000.
“We contacted EFCC, they said they were only after Yahoo boys for now. We contacted the DSS and they declined. The lawyer also started behaving as though he was compromised,” he said.
Frustrated by the lack of action, she turned to the Brekete Family radio program to bring her case to the public’s attention, prompting First Bank to respond to the allegations and initiate an investigation into the matter.