One of Nigeria’s commercial banks, Polaris Bank, has come under criticism, particularly on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, after one of the bank’s senior managers reportedly asked Muslim staff members in her unit not to perform their Friday prayers.
It was gathered that in a leaked email, one of the bank’s supervising staff had said the bank did not have a policy that allows employees to go for religious activities during work hours.
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.”
Reacting on Twitter, @Biyatife said, “This is a horrible policy by Polaris Bank. Muslims should be allowed to attend Friday Jumat Service. Undebatable!”
“The action of your employee, Damilola Adebara, is nothing other than religious sentiment, bigotry, extremism, and intolerance. Whoever the person is, Adebara must come out and apologise publicly or else we Muslims would close all our accounts with Polaris Bank,” @Damkarwa2 tweeted.
Reacting to the development, the bank in a statement on Wednesday said the manager’s submission did not represent its position as a corporate entity.
Stating that it adhered to Nigeria being a secular state, it said the bank does not have a policy that restricts practice of religion.
“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 Bank stated.