The reported saga between the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) and the chairman/managing director of Innoson Motors, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma is rubbing off negatively on the bank.
Chukwuma was recently arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at his Enugu home, and taken to Abuja.
The commission claimed it stormed his residence to arrest him as he had refused to honour previous invitations extended to him, a claim which the company said was not true.
Many Nigerians who felt the industrialist was unduly victimize have taken to social media handles calling on Nigerians to either close their accounts with the bank, or withdraw their monies from it.
Already the campaign to punish GTB has taken an ethnic coloration, as many have opined that Innoson was treated in such manner because of the part of the country he hails from.
While there are claims by many that they have closed their accounts with the bank, others say they have transferred their funds in it to other banks, as a way of punishing GTB for its role in the travails of the Innoson boss.
On its part, it seems the bank is not taking the campaign lying low, as it has equally taken embarked on moves to redeem its image, and dispel reports of how customers are abandoning the bank’s services.
Asides from putting out a statement denying that customers are closing their accounts, or transferring their funds from GTB to other banks, the bank over the last few days, after the fallout of the Innoson sage, embarked on sponsored campaigns on social media platforms, especially Facebook, to raise perceptions about it.
There are also reports from some branches of GTB that the bank in efforts to discourage customers from closing down their accounts, ask customers who make such requests to formally write in, and wait for the bank’s response.
In other branches, there are also reports that staff of the bank have resorted to speaking one-on-one with customers who have made such requests in efforts to discourage them.
Customers requesting for transfer of funds were not also allowed to make same, as they were reportedly told to either wait or come back the next day.
The Innoson Group has been engaged in a number of court cases with GTbank. It accused the bank of being indebted to the auto manufacturing company to the tune of N8.5 billion in a series of damages stemming from illegal service deductions by the bank. An initial fraud case brought against Mr. Chukwuma was withdrawn earlier this year.
Reacting in the social media attack on GTB, Reno Omokri a former aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan on new media said, “If what Igbos did to @gtbank is done to herdsmen, they will stop killing Nigerians. Don’t boycott GTBank. Boycott herdsmen and their cows. It will make you healthier and also serve your existential purpose by sending a strong message to these marauders and their sponsors in govt”.
On his part, Chief Charles Udeogaranya a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demand the immediate withdrawal of GTB bank license and overhauling of the EFCC, over the invasion of the house of Innoson.
According to Udeogaranya in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, “This was necessary to save Nigerians from corporations that function without being mindful of corporate interests of the state.
“Many Nigerian banks have lost their rightful corporate citizenship concerns. I sincerely believe that our banks have failed to partner government in achieving the necesssary economic development”, he stated.