Black Christmas: Petrol scarcity, blackout, malfunctioning POS, poor ATM network herald Christmas
Barely 24 hours to Christmas, Nigerians have continued to face multiple pains occasioned by biting petrol scarcity, blackout, inability to make withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines (ATM), and poor networks in electronic banking resulting in illicit deductions from their accounts at point of sales (POS) terminals as they hurry to make last minute online purchases. An aggrieved customer with Zenith Bank ATM was raving mad at a staff of Globus Supermarket in Ejigbo area of Lagos over one of such deduction errors.
“The POS read error but my account has been debited. I have to abandon the goods I purchased meanwhile my account says I have paid for them with the correct amount. The sales girl has refused to see reason with me”, the angry customer lamented as he displayed details of the deduction to our reporter and to anyone who cared to listen to his story.
Along Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, customers wore mournful faces as most ATMs refused to dispense cash. Those that had cash had very long queues. To add to the frustration, long vehicular queues from the filling stations selling petrol have narrowed the road thus reducing traffic to a snarl.
The correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who went round the metropolis reports that not many of the ATMs in some banks visited on Sunday were dispensing cash.
In Benin City, Edo State, the same story of ATM inefficiency dogged activities. Some of the residents appealed to the management of the banks to urgently deploy more of their staff to the banks to ensure efficiency in the services of the machines.
Abel Bassey, who said he was on queue for three hours before he was able to make withdrawal, alleged that the banks deliberately refused to put enough money in the machines.
“I don’t understand how one, with his money in the bank, can find it extremely difficult to make use of ATMs,” he said.
For Aliu Ozioruva, he said he visited three locations before he could get cash.
“In fact, I started on Saturday evening but could not succeed and had to set out early on Sunday morning to continue.
“My take is that if the machines were fully loaded and there is someone on ground to always reload when they are empty; this challenge would have been avoided.
“Another issue is that of network which I cannot say anything about. However, the banks should have envisaged the traffic associated with these machines at this time of the year,” he said.
Similarly, residents were seen at various filling stations on queues.
Fillings were selling fuel between N230 and N250 above the government regulated price of N145 per liter.
NAN reports that only NNPC Mega Station along Sapele road was dispensing the product at the official price and the long queue at the station had resulted into chaotic traffic jam on the road.
NAN reports that military personnel, police the state traffic officials have had terrible time trying to maintain orderliness around the station.
It was also observed that the station now operate beyond its official closing time of 8pm, as they were found to be dispensing the product to motorists till 11pm on Saturday.
The residents, however, described the situation as unfortunate especially at the Christmas season.
A motorists who identified himself as Osadolor, said he had been on queue around 5am to beat the rush.
Also, Thompson Ebewe, said though the queue was moving fast but the activities of some persons had slowed the process.
“Though the fuel line is moving, I believe it could be faster if not for the activities of some torts that were jumping the queues,’’ he lamented.