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Northern Muslims Boycott Polaris Bank, Empty Accounts for Hindering Muslim Staff from Juma’at Prayer

A number of northerners have started boycotting Polaris Bank over a leaked memo sent to Muslim staff members by Damilola Adebara, one of the bank’s supervising staff, refraining the devotees from Juma’at service.

The memo dated October 11, 2022, posits that the bank does not have a policy that allows any employee to go for religious activities during work hours.

“Dear All, It has been observed that on Fridays, you leave your work desks to attend the Jumat service bearing in mind the impact of your absence on the workflow and productivity of Yes Center,” the memo read in part.

READ: Three Months after, Zenith Bank Sits on Freelancer’s Dollars, Claims Scrutiny

Northern Muslims Boycott Polaris Bank, Empty Accounts for Hindering Muslim Staff from Juma’at Prayer 1
Northern Muslims Boycott Polaris Bank, Empty Accounts for Hindering Muslim Staff from Juma’at Prayer 1

“Kindly note that there is no provision made anywhere in the bank’s policy for employees to attend any religious activities during work hours. Going forward such permissions would not be granted on the Yes Center platform and any infraction of this directive would be dealt with accordingly. You are all expected to acknowledge the receipt of this mail. Thank you.”

Polaris would later counter Adebara’s stance, saying it negates the bank’s policy as a corporate entity.

While noting that it acknowledges Nigeria as a secular state, the bank does not have a policy that impedes the practice of religion, it states.

“The attention of the bank has been drawn to a shared screenshot of mail sent by a supervisor to staff in her department in respect of Friday prayers,” Polaris said in a different mail. “This is to clarify that Nigeria is a secular nation and our Bank is guided by this standard. Accordingly, there is no policy in the Bank that forbids staff from practising the religion of their choice; hence the said staff had acted in ignorance and we have since addressed the issue internally.”

“We assure all staff, customers, and the public that we will continue to respect the fundamental rights and freedom of worship of every employee,” it assured.

READ: Customer Withdraws N150,000 from GT Bank ATM in Niger, but Cashier Labels Parts of It ‘Fake’

However, WikkiTimes could not ascertain the exact branch of the bank where the incident occurred. But there were speculations that it happened in one of the bank’s branches located in the south. 

BUT IT CHANGES NOTHING

Despite the bank’s clarification, customers thronged to various branches of the bank to withdraw their money and close down their accounts. They also demanded that Adebara be dismissed from the bank.

Northern Muslims Boycott Polaris Bank, Empty Accounts for Hindering Muslim Staff from Juma’at Prayer 2

A Kano business mogul, Alhaji Sule of Kantin Kwari market, had stormed the bank and emptied his account by withdrawing the sum of N80 million and demanding the closure of the account, according to a Facebook post by Sheikh Usman At-tapawy. 

Similarly, another businessman in Gombe, Alhaji Lawal of Central market withdrew N105 million from the bank. Both were reported to have shared screenshots of their transactions.

READ: One Month After Declined Transaction, GTBank Yet to Refund Customer’s N40, 000 

Alhaji Sani Iliyasu, another customer, described how he fumed at the bank to declare it a “bigot.”

According to him, after evacuating his account to almost zero naira, he demanded its closure and the bank attendant ushered him to the branch manager’s office in an attempt to appease him.

He wrote: “The manager tried to convince me not to close the account but my obstinate conservative emotions told me not to listen to him, until he gathered others staff to beg me including an Igbo lady who borrowed a headscarf to cover her head to talk to conservative Muslim. Because of the kindness of the manager, I walked away without accomplishing my mission.

“Notwithstanding, I withdrew all my money and I believe many also did the same. Our action should serve as a deterrent to potential Bigot Banks who don’t want to live in peace.” 

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