…visitors stranded; count woes
By our Reporters
Residents and visitors to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state’s capital, have described the 2017 Christmas celebrations as the worst in their history, blaming same on the poor economic status of the Oil-rich state. Our correspondents who went round the major streets of the city gathered from a cross section of residents that this year’s Christmas festival may be the worst ever if nothing was done by the authorities to ameliorate the harsh condition citizens were going through.
Our reporter who spoke to some respondents reported that most bank customers who attempted to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were disappointed as at Saturday morning as most of the machines visited had no cash in them.
At the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Banking Layout branch, Uyo, customers were seen wearing agonizing faces as two ATM outlets mounted at the roadside were non-functional. There were no officials of the bank to attend to the situation when our reporter visited.
Expressing his disappointment, an apparently distraught customer who was returning from a failed attempt to get cash from the ATM inside the banking premises, told our correspondent that he had his worst feelings when one of the security guards at the bank told him there was no cash.
“I have a good balance in my account and I had no reason to complain because what I have is enough to take of my family throughout (the) festivity period. But a situation where I come here and I am told, after spending a long time on the queue, that there is no money in the ATM is nothing but my worst experience ever”, an aggrieved customer who declined giving his identity said.
Our correspondent reported that most customers left the ATM point when a man believed to be a staff surfaced and told them that a little cash would be injected into the machine, adding that it would only take a few minutes to exhaust.
At the Aka Road branch of the same bank, long queues of customers were seen scrambling to take some currencies from the ATM. Our correspondent also reported that only two of the machines were working.
The situation was worst at Eco Bank, Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, as their ATMs were not dispensing cash at all when our reporter visited. A man met at the premises said there were no attendants to recharge the machines. But the aggrieved customers insinuated that the bank had run out of money.
In a related development, visitors who came from outside the state to attend the December 22 Carol Night, organized by the Akwa Ibom State government have expressed their displeasures over inability to access their cash to service their stay in the state or return home.
“ It’s very funny. How can I explain a situation where I cannot use a POS (Point of sale) machine? I have tried about three supermarkets, yet, the same situation. I even went earlier to a bank to use an ATM, they said no cash. This is really bad. It has spoilt my fun. I cannot maintain my stay here and I cannot service my way back home”, one of the visitors, Mr. Matthew told our correspondent at a filling station at Aka Road, near Babangida Avenue, where its POS was not functioning while he attempted to fuel his car.
Meanwhile, there is a biting fuel scarcity being experienced in the capital city and its environs. As at the time of filing this report, most filling stations were seen dispensing the PMS, popularly called petrol at the cost of between N200 and N250 per liter. The official rate is between N143 and N145 per liter.