First City Monument Bank (FCMB) did not sack 500 but 150 staff, a top official of the bank said on Monday.

The official, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that those relieved of their duties represented five per cent of the bank's 3,000 workforce.

He said that the bank had also employed some new staff to replace some of those sacked.

NAN reports that the workers were sacked on Jan. 19.

He said that the development was not peculiar to FCMB, adding that some other banks had done same recently.

The official also attributed the sack to the economic downturn of the country due to weak prices of global commodities.

He said that it was natural that those found wanting would be eased out due to poor returns.