15 October 2014, Abuja – A Federal High Court in Abuja has been urged to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from further implementing its reintroduced N65 on cash withdrawal from others’ banks’ ATMs.
The new CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had on August 13 announced that a customer, who makes cash withdrawals from the ATM of banks other than his/her, would be charged N65 at the fourth withdrawal within a month.
The policy took effect nationwide on September 1. Emefiele’s predecessor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had on December 2012 abolished the earlier N100 charge per withdrawal on others’ ATM.
A rights activist, Timi Frank argued in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/659/2014 that the decision by the CBN governor to reintroduce charges of cash withdrawal from ATM was “retrogressive and a negation of the cashless policy currently being propagated by the CBN.”
Frank contended, in his statement of claim, that such charges were not only discriminatory against the poor, but capable of discouraging savings on the part of the low income earners.
He noted that such charges were alien to developed societies as no customer would be charged any fee in a country like the United Kingdom for using other banks’ ATM.
The suit, initiated via a writ of summons, filed on September18 by Frank’s lawyer, Olugbenga Adeyemi, has the CBN and Emefiele as defendants.
The plaintiff seeks perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from engaging in further implementation and deduction of the N65 charges and an order setting aside the directive reintroducing the charges.
He also seeks a declaration that the directive of the defendants for the reintroduction of ATM charges for cash withdrawals made on others’ ATMs in the amount of N65 from the fourth withdrawal in a month is inhumane, callous, unconscionable, illegal, null and void.
Frank is also praying the court for a declaration that the reintroduction of the N65 charges “is retrogressive, anti people, exploitative and obnoxious,” and a declaration that it negates the cashless policy of the CBN. No date is set yet for the hearing of the case.
Meanwhile, the central bank yesterday stressed the need for increased adherence to corporate governance by banks.
Emefiele said this while speaking at the CBN/FITC Continuous Education Programme for directors of banks and other financial institution in Lagos.
The CBN governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu said the central bank would continue to prioritise corporate governance.
– This Day