Polaris bank in crisis as Muslim customers close accounts, protesting against viral discriminatory email



By Ismail Auwal

The management of Polaris Bank Plc has been experiencing anxiety for the past two days as a result of a shared screenshot of an internal email sent to employees in the bank department by a “Yes Centre team supervisors.”

In the said controversial email, which has gone viral in the media,  the supervisor identified as Damilola Adebara, was emphasizing to her colleagues on the implication of leaving the office on Friday to attend a prayer, which disrupts banking service delivery to customers.

The mail read, “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 Centre.

“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 Centre 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.”

This communication according to bank the was issued by the said officer without understanding its implications and does not reflect the policy of the Bank.

The Bank in a swift reaction said no policy in the Bank forbids staff from practicing the religion of their choice.

The bank’s management said  the supervisor acted in ignorance as the bank does not have any policy that forbids people from practicing their religion.

While noting that Nigeria is a secular state, the bank management said the supervisor’s action does not reflect the corporate identity of the Bank.

“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.”

“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 practicing 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,” the bank said.

The Muslim community, which views the email as discriminatory, has started withdrawing money and closing their bank accounts despite the bank’s management’s clarification.

According to Halliru Isyaku, the reason why Muslims are boycotting Polaris Bank is to set a good example for other for-profit businesses in how to treat Muslims and their religious beliefs with respect.

Mubarak Mijinyawa said that by withdrawing their money Northern Muslims are sending a strong message to the entire private sector benefiting from them directly.

“What happened to Polaris Bank will serve as a deterrence. No one threatens our religion and gets away with it. One of our mottos is that an injury to one is an injury to all, ” he said.

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