Customers of Unity Bank Plc in Benue have continued to groan following the sealing of the bank’s premises by the state government over alleged tax default since May.
The bank allegedly failed to remit N105 million Personal Income Tax/Assets to the Benue Board of Internal Revenue Services (BIRS).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bank was sealed along with three others on May 25.
NAN checks on Tuesday revealed that all the branches in the state were affected by the action.
The Board Executive Chairman, Mrs Mimi Orubibi, had told newsmen that the enforcement was in compliance with the Personal Income Tax Act, 2011 (amended) and the Benue State Internal Revenue Administration Law 2015.
Orubibi had explained that the affected banks failed to comply with tax laws, court orders and failed to supply the board with all the necessary documents for auditing.
She said that the banks were all given “best of judgement” after failing to remit the monies at the expiration of seven days demand notices which were served on them on April 10.
The tax boss further disclosed that other banks in the state had complied with the board and reconciliation was ongoing.
However, customers were seen complaining to security guards at the bank’s gates following the continuous sealing of the premises.
They expressed frustration and disappointment as the situation had created hardships, especially in feeding their families for months, following their inability to access funds from the bank, including their salaries.
Mr James Audu, a customer, told NAN that the bank had failed to keep its social contract with customers.
Audu expressed disappointment at the behaviour of the bank management, adding that it had continued to keep quiet over the matter.
“I have never seem a situation like this in my life where a bank will close for good four months in a state, forcing its customers to suffer simply because it failed to remit tax. ”
Also, Mr Alson Yakubu, a worker, said the bank had disgraced the sector.
Yakubu explained that pensioners and civil servants in the state, who were patronising the bank, were groaning as they could not access their emolument even though they were paid.
At the bank, customers expressed general disappointment and threatened to close their accounts from the affected bank.
Several attempts by a NAN correspondent to get reaction from the branch manager of the bank and other officials proved abortive as non of them was around. (NAN)
The security guards on duty were also not helpful as they refused to give phone numbers of any official of the bank.