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Zenith Bank ATM Withholds Man’s Card, Then N307,000 Leaves His UBA Account


Ismaila Ibrahim, a Lagos-based graphics designer in his late 50s, wanted to withdraw N10,000 from a Zenith Bank Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) gallery on November 24 when his card got stuck.

Ibrahim, while sharing details of the incident, told FIJ that N307,000 was stolen from his account after the ATM seized his card.

According to Ibrahim, although he banks with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), he decided to withdraw from a nearby Zenith Bank ATM stationed in Onipanu on that fateful day in November. 

FIJ learned that he made the withdrawal attempt himself, without assistance from anyone. 

 The debt alert

“N307,000 was withdrawn from my account without my consent. I was at the ATM gallery around 9:00 am. Unfortunately, after making an attempt to withdraw, I couldn’t get paid, and my ATM card was seized by the machine,” he told FIJ.

“All efforts to get the card proved abortive, and a Zenith Bank staff told me to go to my bank at UBA to request a new ATM card.”

While Ibrahim was at UBA to get a new ATM card, he got a debit alert of N307,000. 

“I made a complaint about the debit alert at UBA and was informed that the transaction was done through a POS terminal using the same card that was seized by Zenith Bank’s ATM,” said Ibrahim.

The graphics designer said a UBA staff then instructed him to return to Zenith Bank and request to see footage of the exact incident. But on getting there, the bank threatened to have him arrested.

When I got to Zenith Bank, my request was turned down, and I was accused of making false claims. The operation manager at the branch also threatened to arrest me.

“The operation and branch manager claimed the ATM card was swapped from my hand by another individual at the ATM stand, which is a blatant lie.

“I was eventually allowed to see the CCTV footage after I reported at Abraham Adesanyan Onipanu Police Station and the DPO made a call to the bank. 

“In the process of seeing the footage, there was no point it showed that the card was swapped from me, neither did they show me the point their security officer came to join me at the ATM stand after I requested that the people behind me should help me call him.”

Ibrahim said that none of the banks had been able to recover the N307,000 that was fraudulently withdrawn from his account.

“I have gone back to both banks several times after that. I wrote a letter to UBA on December 4, but all efforts to get the money back have proved abortive,” he said.

FIJ reached out to both banks via email on Tuesday for comments on the fraudulent transaction on Ibrahim’s account. 

While Zenith Bank did not comment on the allegations or steps being taken to ensure the recovery of the money, the bank wrote: “In the spirit of Inter-Bank relationship, Zenith Bank is always willing to oblige every third party bank access to the video footage. Please advise the account holder to liaise with his bank to follow due process for the video footage.”

UBA’s response

UBA’s response also did not include what was being done to help its customer recover the money. The bank said: “Investigation shows that the ICC card was read by the POS terminals used for the repudiated transactions confirming the person who carried out the transactions had custody of the physical card containing customers card sensitive details/credentials. We await receipts of the POS transactions. United Bank for Africa was not negligent as the repudiated transactions were duly initiated and authorised with the card PAN details in custody of the customer and other privy card credentials known to him only. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience experienced in this regard.”

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