THERE was pandemonium yesterday at two branches of a commercial bank in Umuahia, the Abia State capital when many customers besieged the bank over withdrawals running into millions of naira made from their accounts at midnight.
As early as 8.00am, many customers of the bank have crowded the two branches of the bank located along Bank Road in Umuahia, with lamentations over debit alerts, amounting to millions of naira which they received between 1am and 3am yesterday. The customers, who stated that the unusual withdrawal occurred very early in the morning yesterday while they were asleep, expressed shock that they woke up to see that the money in their accounts have been withdrawn.
A senior staff of one of the affected branches, who spoke on anonymity blamed the incident on “international hackers.” Mrs Nnenna Ukachi could not control her tears as she stated that she came all the way from Bende Local Government Area of the state to withdraw the sum of N250,000 to complete payment to transfer a sick daughter to the Universty of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu, only to find that her account has been emptied. The woman who couldn’t control her tears lamented that the money was sent by a good Nigerian who read about the plight of her only child and decided to help. She said: “My life is finished, what will I do? That money is my only hope from God and now, the bank is telling me a story I can’t understand.
What should I do?”. Onwuchekwa Chinatu, an Umuahia-based legal practitioner told Vanguard that he raced all the way from Ikwuano this morning when he noticed the strange withdrawal alerts that occurred in his account last night. He said that thousands of naira meant for workers salary deposited in the bank have been withdrawn and the entire account emptied. Another customer of the bank and a civil servant told newsmen that the money in his account was a loan he collected from the bank where his salary is domiciled. A senior staff of the bank confirmed the incident as a handiwork of international hackers. He confirmed that the incident had been reported in two of their branches in Umuahia and blamed it on the activities of criminal international hackers who infiltrated into the bank systems. He assured the customers that the monies were not lost as it remained in what he called “Lean Account,” meaning that the funds are still in the bank and the affected accounts have been blocked. He said: “We have contacted our headquarters and we assure customers not to panic as their money is not lost.”