On Saturday January 4, 2019, United Bank for Africa PLC, one of Africa’s biggest banks owned by philanthropist Tony Elumelu sent out a press release signed by Ramon Nasir, Head, External & Media Relations.
The press release announced with glee:
“UBA Recruits 4,000 New Staff, Promotes Over 5,000 Staff members; increases Salaries Up to 170%.
Lagos, Nigeria, January 06, 2020: Over 5,000 staff of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, started the new year with a lot of cheer as the bank yesterday announced its promotion to new grades as well as salary upgrades with immediate effect this January.
Those who are beneficiaries of this exercise will receive up to 170% increase in their salaries and benefits, whilst a good number have been moved to higher grade levels.”
The press release was curious because it was sent out on a Saturday. Why not wait until Monday, the first working day of the week, many wondered.
Those who were wondering soon had answers to their query as twitter went crazy with news that UBA had laid off over 1,000 staff who many twitter users alleged were forced to resign just as they were stepping into the New Year
But it seems that the bank which claims to be “one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries” and “presence in the global financial centres of London, New York and Paris” may have released half-truths to befuddle the public if comments on twitter are anything to go by.
A day before the press release was sent out, UBA is alleged to have sacked thousands of employees in what can only be described as a curious new year gift.
The press release is now being seen by many as a red herring sent out to distract from the fact that they had chosen the first and longest month of the year to sack over a thousand long serving employees without warning.
Twitter has been awash with comments by concerned Nigerians who are wondering how a bank which just signed the first billion naira endorsement deal with a musician could sack thousands without warning and many also allege with out severance packages.
Email and text messages sent to Nasir Ramon and Abiodun Coker of UBA were not replied as at the time of going to press.