Banking activities have been grounded in most Access Bank branches in Enugu State following the execution of a N636 million judgment against the bank.
It was gathered that the legal tussle, which began several years ago, ended at the Supreme Court in April this year, with the apex court ruling in favour of the plaintiff, F. G. Onyenwe Motors Nigeria Limited.
Correspondent, who monitored the execution, observed that the court officials went away with the Bank’s properties, including computers and vehicles while the gates were shut against customers.
The exercise, which began at the Bank’s regional headquarters at the Garden Avenue in Enugu, was also carried out at the Ogui Road branch.
Hundreds of customers ran from one branch of the bank to another in order to make panic withdrawals but it was not possible as banking activities were shut down.
Lawyers to the judgment creditor, Court Bailiffs and a number of policemen from Enugu State Police Command enforced the judgment against the bank, which drew hundreds of passersby to the scene.
Speaking to journalists at the Ogui Road branch of the bank, counsel to the plaintiff, Barr. Tagbo Ike said it was evident that the bank was not financially viable to pay the judgment debt.
He said, “we are here to effect the judgment of court against the Access Bank. A customer of the Bank felt defrauded owing to arbitrary charges.
“He went to the Federal High Court and obtained a judgment. The Bank had given an undertaking to deposit the money in an account while the appeal proceeded but they didn’t keep to that.
“Instead, they filed an appeal and lost; finally they went to the Supreme Court and they lost too.”
He further disclosed that by next week, he would seek order of court to sell the Bank’s headquarters in Lagos.
“It is clear that the bank has no money to meet this obligation; we were at the regional office in Enugu here and they told us there was no money; so the only option left is to sell off the Lagos office”, Ike further stated.
The Branch Manager of the bank who refused to disclose his identity when approached by reporters, declined comments, saying the development was a normal phenomenon in the banking sector.
He said that the matter was between the bank and the customer, adding that the press had no business getting involved in such an internal matter.