A commercial bank based in Nigeria, Polaris Bank, is being strongly criticised for prohibiting its Muslim staff from observing Jummah prayer (Friday prayer).
In a leaked email sighted by Newsbreak.ng, one of the bank’s supervising staff, Damilola Adebara, said the financial institution does not have a policy that allows any employee to go for religious activities during work hours.
The email showed that the staff are working under its YES centre, a branch of its customer service.
The mail read partly 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 work-flow and productivity of Yes Center.”
“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.”
Reacting to the mail, the bank in a statement on Thursday said the staff’s submission does not represent its position as a corporate entity.
“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,” Polaris said.
Notwithstanding, several Muslim commenters are fuming on social media, with some customers threatening to end their relationship with the bank.
A protesting Muslim asked investors to withdraw their stock from Polaris Bank.
See some comments on the issue from social media users below:
A Twitter user with the handle Coolex said: “This bank (Polaris) does not like Muslims. A staff of the bank is threatening her subordinates that they should not go to Jumuat prayers.
“Muslims are watching you. We were created to serve God not Polaris.”
In a similar vein, Isma’eel Musa said: “I was about to offer an advice, especially to Muslims, not invest or trade with any Bank where workers’ right (Muslim and Christian) alike are not protected.”
The action of your employee Damilola I Adebara is nothing other than religious sentiment, bigotry, extremism, and intolerance. Whoever the person is Damilola I Adebara must come out and apologize publicly or else we Muslims would close all our accounts with Polaris Bank.
— Captain Kyari MAGUOMERI (Rtd) (@Damkarwa2) October 13, 2022
So, If Polaris Bank Doesn’t have Time For Her Muslim Workers To Observe their Religious Right, The Muslims Customers Should As Well Shun The Bank.
— Uthman Isa Tochukwu, LL.B (@UthmanTochukwu) October 13, 2022
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