UPROAR AS CBN TAKES OVER SKYE BANK


A militant group in the Niger Delta, Iduwn Volunteers Force (IVF) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN's) move to forcefully wind up Skye Bank and some others under the pretence of 'Insider Credits', describing it as 'an anti people’s policy.'

But the CBN has calmed fears of possible distress in the banking industry, insisting that the management of Skye Bank Plc voluntarily resigned to avoid sack by the CBN for alleged failure to stabilise the fundamentals of banking pre and post-acquisition of Mainstreet Bank Limited.

In a statement yesterday by its Commander, Johnson Biboye, the IVF urged the President to intervene and halt the move by the CBN.

Aside from the militants, some major shareholders in the banking sector have also asked the President to prevail on the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele to withdraw a letter addressed to 11 banks, including Skye Bank Plc, compelling them to bring 'insider-related credits' before December 31.

They insisted the measure would throw the country into economic instability should the apex bank be allowed to go ahead with its planned directive as the plan was nothing but to take over the 11 banks.

The CBN had in a letter dated January 22 and signed by its Director of Banking Supervision, Mr. Benjamin A. Fakunle, asked the banks to bring 10 per cent of their paid-up capital per director before December 31.

The letter stated: "The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted an extension of time till December 31, 20 I6 to enable you bring your insider related credits within the stipulated regulatory maximum of 10% of your Paid-up Capital per director including his/her related parties and 60% Paid-up Capital for total related credits in line with our circular BSD/9/2004 on Large Exposures and Connected Lending. You are, however, required to provide quarterly report/update on the progress made."

Six months before the expiration of its directive, the CBN has allegedly sacked Skye Bank management.

Angered by this, the militant group threatened to launch an attack should the President fail to prevail on the apex bank to rescind its decision to takeover the banks 'under whatever guise.'

They asked the President to remove Emefiele from his position, describing his policy as not only anti-people but "a well-orchestrated plan by the CBN boss, to systematically collapse the nation's economy, so that global watchers could make mockery of your government and finally turn Nigeria to a laughing stock locally and internationally."

The CBN's intervention affected the bank's Chairman, Tunde Ayeni, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, as well as two long-serving executive and non-executive directors.

According to CBN, the dissolved management team had failed to maintain the regulatory threshold of the industry's liquidity ratio; capital adequacy level; and the required Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) ratio.

Emefiele, at a press conference to announce the development and the newly appointed management team, comprising M.K. Ahmad as chairman; Tokunboh Aberu, managing director; two new executive directors and five non-executive directors, said the intervention became necessary as the team seemed to have run out of ideas on how to redirect the financial institution.

It was also to forestall further erosion of values from reaching the point that it could pose greater challenge to re-order the bank, he said.

"It has nothing to do with being in distress. We do not want the liquidity and adequacy ratio to worsen to the point that depositors' fund gets into risk, "he remarked.

Meanwhile, Emefiele has assured that the strategic health of the banking industry remained sound. He added that if there was a need to inform the general public about the strategic health of the banks, CBN will do so.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN.