Retired Customs Officer Battles For Survival As Bank Freezes His Account

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By; PATRICK TITUS,  Uyo

For Udeme Bassey Akpabio, 

a retired officer in the Nigerian Customs Service, surviving as a result of old age, lack of resources to manage his ailing health and frustration meted to him by Access Bank Plc are his multiple worries.

Akpabio who retired from service 12 years ago, is now a shadow of his old self following two years of non payment of his monthly pension by Access Bank Plc.

New Nigerian gathered that after his retirement from active service of the Nigerian Customs Service in 2010, whose last place of work was Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, he was instructed by the service to open an account with designated banks partnering with the Service for payment of his pension emoluments; and he settled for then Diamond Bank Plc.

It was further gathered that Diamond Bank Plc before it was acquired by Access Bank Plc, ensured prompt payment of his pension for eight years without any issue until in 2018 when he fell sick and bedridden, within which period Access Bank Plc blocked and stopped him from withdrawing money from his account to take care of his sickness despite the fact that his pension was still running. The Bank, we learned, failed to accord him any explanation for their action.

The actions of Access Bank Plc took another turn when the old and ailing Akpabio was led from his sick bed to Ikot Ekpene branch of the bank to make withdrawal only to realized his account has been blocked.

He then through his lawyer, wrote to the Ikot Ekpene branch manager of the bank, demanding unblocking of his account to enable him take care of his health. However, despite receiving the letter, the bank refused to take action or give any reason, and after several reminders without any success, and with no money to buy prescribed drugs, Akpabio approached Akwa Ibom State High Court to seek redress.

In an application brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, and Part 2 Section 11 (2) of the High Court Rules of Akwa Ibom State, and Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), Akpabio in Suit No HU/MISC/480/2022, prayed for the ex-parte Order of the court to compel Access Bank Plc (Respondent) give him access to his money in his saving account.

Akpabio, in his 18 paragraph affidavit  under the provisions of the Oath Act and a written address in support of his motion with two exhibits attached, has urged the court to order Access Bank Plc to allow him access to his money in other to take care of his ailing health.

Meanwhile, the Court presided over by Hon. Justice Iniabasi Udobong has ordered the Respondent (Access Bank Plc) to immediately unblock the Applicant (Udeme Bassey Akpabio) account to enable him access to his money in his account.

Reacting, Counsel to the Applicant, Etim Okon commended the court for taking the bold step to save his client from untimely death. He urged the Respondent (Access Bank Plc) to obey the lawful Order of the Court.

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