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FACT CHECK: No, First Bank did not suspend operations in the south-east

FACT CHECK: No, First Bank did not suspend operations in the south-east
June 02
14:06 2021

On Wednesday, a piece of information began to spread on social media that First Bank of Nigeria has temporarily shut some branches in the south-east region over rising insecurity.

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On Twitter, the information shared by multiple account users had garnered over hundreds of retweets and more than 400 likes as seen on few accounts.

In one of such tweets with over 450 engagements, a Twitter user identified as David Abdulrasak Atta faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for the development.

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“First Bank has reportedly suspended operations in the SE… A scenario that a vindictive president would let play out to the detriment of the region and which can easily be blamed on IPOB. His line of action is to save the SE from enemies within. But you’re too angry to see,” Atta tweeted.

Another user, @HadesShield, said 65 First Bank branches have been temporarily closed in the south-east due to insecurity which has heightened attacks on security personnel and infrastructure.

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“First Bank of Nigeria has decided to temporarily close its 65 branches in the South East due to Insecurity ravaging the region with ESN attacking security personnel and critical infrastructures,” it reads.

HOW TRUE IS THIS CLAIM?

Checks by TheCable revealed that First Bank had announced closure of 81 branches in the south-east region on May 31.

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Although the reason for the decision was not stated by the bank, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group had ordered a sit-at home on May 31, to mark the 54th anniversary of Biafra.

Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman, had earlier said human and vehicular movements would be restricted across the south-east to commemorate the Biafra Day celebration.

On May 31, First Bank announced that 81 branches in the region will be temporarily closed.

A breakdown of the affected branches shows that 17 outlets were temporarily closed in Imo state, 15 in Enugu, 4 in Ebonyi, 28 in Anambra, and 17 branches in Abia state.

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“Our South East branches are temporarily closed today. Please use our alternative channels to transact. Thank you,” the bank tweeted.

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Amid growing misinformation on the closure of its branches in the south-east, the tier-1 bank took to its social media accounts on Wednesday to discredit claims that its operation has been suspended in the region.

First Bank said its branches in the south-east region are opened for business, adding that members of the public are encouraged to disregard any contrary information.

“This is to inform the public that our South East branches are fully open for business. Please disregard any news making the rounds that is contrary to this,” it tweeted.

An official of First Bank communications unit had also confirmed to TheCable that the bank’s branches in the south-east are open for business.

VERDICT:

First Bank of Nigeria has not suspended its operations in the south-east. Claim that 65 branches are temporarily closed is false as the bank temporarily closed 81 branches in the region for just one day only. The branches are fully open for business

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