Header Ads

Enugwu-Ukwu Community Kicks Against Moves To Close Union Bank Branch.

By David Okpokwasili

There is palpable apprehension amongst residents and indigenes of Enugwu-Ukwu Community in Njikoka Local Government Area following moves to relocate Union Bank Branch Enugwu-Ukwu.

ABS visited the community and spoke to customers of the Bank and traders in the community who were unanimous in condemning the move. They called on the management of the Bank to rescind their decision.

Enugwu-Ukwu, a community with eighteen villages, an emerging urban community that connects many communities including Nawfia, Agukwu-Nri, Nimo and Abagana, and located at the heart of Old Enugu-Onitsha Expressway could boast of a population density of over four hundred and fifty thousand.

This potential has created huge economic opportunities for the Community hosting markets, a commendable number of small, medium and micro entreprises, three star hotels, museum; qualities that would be a sought-for destination to host any bank branch.

It, therefore, becomes  surprising that a bank branch that has serviced the community for over thirty years since it was cited in 1988 through the efforts of late Chief Mike Nkwoji (Mike Merchandise) when Paul Ogwuma was the MD of Union Bank, would want to relocate in the glory days of the community.

Some of those who spoke to ABS, include Chief Matthias Amasianya, a retired civil servant who has banked with the Union Bank since his retirement eleven years ago; A petty trader in the Community, a Union Bank customer, Mrs Theresa Nwizu and a community stakeholder, Honourable Captain Obierika and Mr Chukwuebuka Okoli all said "No" when asked if they would want the bank branch to be moved as they bemoaned the hardship the move will bring to the members of the Community especially the local women who depend on it for their daily transactions.

When the ABS arrived the palace of the traditional ruler of Enugwu-Ukwu, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh, another group of youth leaders, traders at Nkwo market Enugwu-Ukwu were already protesting the planned relocation set for 31st January 2020 if members of the Community fail to raise between one-point-two and one-point-five billion naira in deposits for the Bank branch within six months.

The protesters had placards with inscriptions, "Ndi Enugwu-Ukwu Worldwide will boycott Union Bank if they close Enugwu-Ukwu Bank Branch"; Enugwu-Ukwu Elders appeal to Union Bank to save Our Bank Branch": "Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu Traders say 'do not close Union Bank Branch" among many other inscriptions.

After a closed door meeting with representatives of Union Bank to find an amicable solution, some members of Enugwu-Ukwu Royal cabinet, Including the Cabinet Secretary, Chief Frank Nwokike, Chief Clem Nwafor, the Managing  Director of ABS, Chief Uche Nworah, the President General of the Community, Comrade Bonny Ozo-Nkwuaku, Chairman of Enugwu-Ukwu Igu-Aro Commission, Chief Pat Nwume, the first Vice president of the Women wing of Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union (ECDU), Mrs Obiageli Ofoedu were all in suppport of the bank’s continued existence in the community, while noting that the purpose of the bank in the community is to promote social investment, support local women and the elderly as well as boosting small and medium scale entreprises.

The Traditional Ruler of the Community, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh on his part described the attempt to close the branch as disheartening while asking the Bank to review their decision for a better relationship with members of the Community.

Bearing in mind the important roles that banks play in the development of a community, these fears and consequent anger among the residents is only justified.

Chief Uche Nworah said it is surprising that the bank’s management is even considering closing the Enugwu-Ukwu branch, “Certain decisions should not just be made for profit reasons. We find it harsh that after 30 years of hosting Union Bank in Enugwu-Ukwu, they will turn back and demand that we raise fixed deposit of N1.5B or they will close the branch. We do not understand the categorisation. Our conclusion is that the management wants to sacrifice Enugwu-Ukwu branch so as to sustain the new branch they opened in December 2019 at neighbouring Amawbia, the hometown of Emeka Emuwa, Union Bank’s MD. Did the bank also give the Amawbia branch such deposit target?. Eze Enugwu-Ukwu and other sons of Enugwu-Ukwu are in discussions with the bank to reverse their decision, like our Igwe said, we will lead a global campaign among Enugwu-Ukwu sons and daughters to boycott Union Bank services if they go ahead with the closure”.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.