By Michael Oche
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has condemned the increasing attacks on Bank workers by protesters, who are protesting against the new naira swap policy of the Federal government.
The TUC in a statement on Monday by its President, Comrade Festus Osifo and Secretary General, Comrade Nuhu Toro, said these protests are wrongly directed at bank workers and other staff of financial institutions.
The Congress urged Nigerians to take note that the bank staff are like other Nigerians, victims of the poor implementation of the new currency design policy.
While calling for a stop to the attacks, Osifo noted that the Labour Centre fully identifies with the Nigerian people in their legitimate and fundamental right to have access to their funds illegally withheld in the banks.
However, he said: “The TUC states publicly before our fellow compatriots that bank and financial institution employees had no input whatsoever in the naira redesign policy nor were they consulted.
“They also have no hand whatsoever in the printing of the new naira notes nor are they responsible for the release of the new currencies by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the bank workers themselves do not have these cash.
“The Bank and Financial Institution Employees at junior and senior staff levels are mere workers who distribute only currencies made available to the various banks by the regulatory agencies.
“Even the CBN which initially claimed that banks were hoarding the new currencies has admitted that it has been unable to provide the new notes in sufficient quantities to meet public needs.
“They suffer like other Nigerians as they also have families to cater for and personal financial needs to meet. There are some allegations of a handful of bank staff withholding the new currency notes; if this were proven, we would not oppose the law taking its course. This however, can be no basis to find all bank workers guilty.”
The TUC President said the Congress along with the Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions ASSBIFI, is also ready for peaceful solidarity actions with other Nigerians in collaboration with market associations, youth and student groups, professional associations and civil society organisations.
The TUC also condemned the use of maximum force, including live bullets on Nigerians peacefully demonstrating against the failure of the government to produce depositors’ money on demand.