FOLLOWING the growing number of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that have remained “temporarily unable to dispense cash”, in recent times, the banking public has accused Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), of colluding with Point of Sales (PoS) terminal operators to deliberately trade on the naira and extort Nigerians of their hard-earned money.

Most bank customers who spoke to Nigerian Tribune and others that took to social media to vent their anger, therefore call on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to investigate the DMBs, with some arguing that selling naira to Nigerians simply because the banks claim there is no cash is also naira abuse.

From Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt to Kano, Enugu to Jos, POS agents are seen all over the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, helping everyday people perform their transactions.

However,  as many ATM machines are hardly cash-loaded, the banking public have started calling for ban of the service due to abuse and extortion so that every transaction could be carried out through other electronic channels or through the banks.

A customer of one of the new generation “POS operators selling Cash for a fee without a banking licence is another abuse of  Naira  in this country. They will drain the ATM late at night and 7am in the morning. They will situate right in front of the ATM and sell you cash! Nigeria is not a real place.”

Analysts believe that the reality is that POS operators do not get their money from ATMs, but buy the local currency from the banks.

As if operating a racket in Nigeria, a debit card can only withdraw N150,000 per day which is  below what the average POS operator transacts daily.

According to Iroh Uzoigwe, “POS operators have more than 10 Banks accounts with different ATM cards. They only use one or two for business and the rest for ATM withdrawals.”

“I feel commercial banks in Nigeria intentionally refuse to stock their ATMs with cash so that people will go to pos operators. They collude with these people. How can (withheld) bank not have cash in these  ATMs? It’s so funny. Close the  ATMs if you don’t want to stock it.”

Eniola Daniel who took to his X ( formerly Twitter) handle said Nigerian banks and the CBN have surrendered to POS operators- it’s troubling.

“No money in ATM machines but POS operators around the banks have cash and no one is talking. CBN is just not bothering, we are losing all sense of normalcy in NIGERIA.  What is happening @cenbank?, “he lamented.

Another X user said he got new notes from the same lady who is into POS and Black market fuel business, Egwu K. U (@ukakingsley5) said lots of the POS agents have the new notes.

“I was asked to pay an N800 charge for a withdrawal of N8,000 Naira. I politely declined and accepted old notes. However, the lady confirmed she bought the same notes from the bank whose POS terminals she uses, “ Egwu wrote.

Also, Christopher on X said, “I paid N40,000 charge to a POS stand to withdraw N2million. If Nigerian banks claim they don’t have cash to give citizens, how do these POS guys get theirs?? Even the most basic of things in this country is a big problem. Tufiakwa!”

Meanwhile, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer Mr. Bright Edafe has  advised POS operators against releasing money as high as N2,500,000, saying this is dangerous, especially when they are being accompanied by armed men who could be kidnappers.

“Saying it’s business or whatever you call it. We had a case where the kidnappers confessed that they forced their victims to transfer ransom money to POS and later meet them and get cash. Do you say oh it’s my business and I am not culpable? Avoid being held for conspiracy. Whoever comes to you for that huge amount of money should go to the bank for cash or even do transfer. Even CBN policy forbids such huge withdrawals. Are POS operators bigger, stronger, or wiser than CBN? Even if you must release it, do a video of the so-called customers and people who accompanied him. If they have genuine intentions, they won’t be afraid of being recorded on camera.”

Findings show that five days out of seven a week, most of the ATM locations in Lagos mainland are usually empty because the machines are out of service, out of network, or out of cash. It is the same experience many bank customers face with about 22,600 ATM locations, as Inlaks data show, spread across the country.

Nigeria requires about 60,000 ATMs to meet up with its growing population of 216 million people and a banking population of 106 million adults, according to Tope Dare, executive director of Inlaks, the largest ATM operator in the country, which controls over 50 percent of the market.