The CBN has sacked the entire members of the board of First Bank of Nigeria.

First Bank Nigeria, First Bank branches in Nigeria, First Bank revenue, First Bank financial statement

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has announced the sack of the entire board of directors of FBN Holdings Plc and its subsidiary First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. The announcement was made via a television broadcast in the early evening of Thursday, April 29.

Godwin Emefiele cited insider abuse, insider credit and breakdown of corporate governance as the reason behind the sacking of the board of FBN Holdings, Nigeria’s largest bank. The CBN governor further announced the reinstatement of Dr Sola Adeduntan as the Managing Director of the interim Board after he was removed by the now sacked board of First Bank Plc.

According to the Governor, “First Bank of Nigeria is one of Nigeria’s systemically important banks given its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers.”

Following the sacking of the board, the CBN appointed the following people as directors of the holding company, FBNH, Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole, Kofo Dosekun, Remi Lasaki, Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq, Ahmed Modibbo, Khalifa Imam, Sir Peter Aliogo, and UK Eke (Managing Director) as Directors of FBN Holdings Plc. Remi Babalola was appointed as Chairman.

For First Bank Ltd, Tokunbo Martins, Uche Nwokedi, Adekunle Sonola, Isioma Ogodazi, Ebenezer Olufowose, Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo were appointed directors while Tunde Hassan-Odukale was appointed Chairman.

The CBN also confirmed the reinstatement of Sola Adeduntan as Managing Director; Gbenga Shobo as Deputy Managing Director; and Remi Oni and Abdullahi Ibrahim as Executive Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. Gbenga Shobo was just yesterday announced as MD/CEO of First Bank setting the stage for the CBN intervention; while Remi Oni would soon proceed on terminal leave having been appointed Chairman of PENCOM.

In the press briefing, Mr Emefiele stated that the apex bank had been keeping close tabs on First Bank over the past 5 years having discovered that the bank was in “grave financial condition with its Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non-Performing Loans ratio (NPL) substantially breaching acceptable prudential standards.”

According to Emefiele, “The insiders who took loans in the bank, with controlling influence on the board of directors, failed to adhere to the terms for the restructuring of their credit facilities which contributed to the poor financial state of the bank. The CBN’s recent target examination as at December 31, 2020 revealed that insider loans were materially non-compliant with restructure terms (e.g. non perfection of lien on shares/collateral arrangements) for over 3 years despite several regulatory reminders. The bank has not also divested its non-permissible holdings in non-financial entities in line with regulatory directives.”

Emefiele also reassured First Bank of Nigeria depositors, creditors and other stakeholders of the bank of its commitment to ensure the stability of the financial system insisting that it acted to protect 31 million customers, minority shareholders of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.

Beef up Story

On Wednesday, the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited announced it had appointed Gbenga Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was disclosed in a statement made by the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika

However, in an apparent leak, a letter from the central bank to First Bank revealed a query from the former to the latter expressing concern that the appointment of Shobo was done without the approval of the apex bank.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan, and appointed a successor to replace him. The CBN notes with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank Ltd.”

The CBN also claimed that the tenure of Mr. Adedutan was yet to expire (bank MD’s have a maximum 10 years) and that they were also not aware of any misconduct of the former MD and as such there was no justification for his removal.

Given that the tenure of Dr. Adeduntan is yet to expire and the CBN was not made aware of any report from the Board indicting the Managing Director of any wrongdoing or misconduct, there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.”

Full statement of Emefiele’s sacking of FBN Holdings Board

CBN Bans Maize Importation

CBN GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT ON THE PURPORTED MANAGEMENT CHANGE AT THE FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LTD

1.0 Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

2.0 The media has been awash with commentaries on the purported management changes at First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (FBN) and the related regulatory inquiry by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. It has therefore become necessary for me to address the public to clear any misconceptions.

3.0 Ordinarily the board is vested with the authority to make changes in the management team subject to CBN approval. However, the CBN considers itself a key stakeholder in management changes involving FBN due to the forbearances and close monitoring by the Bank over the last 5 years aimed at stemming the slide in the going concern status of the bank.

It was therefore surprising for the CBN to learn through media reports that the board of directors of FBN, a systemically important bank under regulatory forbearance regime had effected sweeping changes in executive management without engagement and/or prior notice to the regulatory authorities. The action by the board of FBN sends a negative signal to the market on the stability of leadership on the board and management and it is in light of the foregoing that the CBN queried the board of directors on the unfortunate developments at the bank.

4.0 As you may be aware, FBN is one of the systemically important banks in the Nigerian banking sector given its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers, amongst others. By our last assessment, FBN has over 31m customers, with deposit base of N4.2trn, shareholders funds of N618bn and NIBSS instant payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22% of the industry.

To us at the CBN, not only is it imperative to protect the minority shareholders, that have no voice to air their views, also important, is the protection of the over 31m customers of the bank who see FBN as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings.

5.0 The bank maintained healthy operations up until 2016 financial year when the CBN’s target examination revealed that the bank was in grave financial condition with its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) and non-performing loans ratio (NPL) substantially breaching acceptable prudential standards.

6.0 The problems at the bank were attributed to bad credit decisions, significant and non-performing insider loans and poor corporate governance practices. The shareholders of the bank and FBN Holding Plc also lacked the capacity to recapitalize the bank to minimum requirements. These conclusions arose from various entreaties by the CBN to them to recapitalize.

7.0 The CBN stepped in to stabilize the bank in its quest to maintain financial stability, especially given FBN’s systemic importance as enumerated earlier. Regulatory action taken by the CBN in this regard included:

i. Change of management team under the CBN’s supervision with the appointment of a new Managing Director/ Chief Executive Office in January 2016.

ii. Grant of the regulatory forbearances to enable the bank work out its non-performing loans through provision for write off of at least N150b from its earning for four consecutive years.

iii. Grant of concession to insider borrower to restructure their non-performing credit facilities under very stringent conditions.

iv. Renewal of the forbearances on a yearly basis between 2016 and 2020 following thorough monitoring of progress towards exiting from the forbearance measures.

8.0 The measures had yielded the expected results as the financial condition of FBN improved progressively between 2016 when the forbearance was initially granted to the current financial year. For instance, profitability, liquidity and CAR improved whilst NPL reduced significantly.

9.0 Notwithstanding the significant improvement in the bank’s financial condition with positive trajectory of financial soundness indicators, the insider related facilities remained problematic.

10.0 The insiders who took loans in the bank, with controlling influence on the board of directors, failed to adhere to the terms for the restructuring of their credit facilities which contributed to the poor financial state of the bank.

The CBN’s recent target examination as at December 31, 2020 revealed that insider loans were materially non-compliant with restructure terms (e.g. non perfection of lien on shares/collateral arrangements) for over 3 years despite several regulatory reminders. The bank has not also divested its non-permissible holdings in non-financial entities in line with regulatory directives.

11.0 Following further review of the situation and in order to preserve stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors, the Management of the CBN in line with its powers under BOFIA 2020 has approved and hereby directs:

i. Immediate removal of the all directors of FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc.

ii. The appointment of the following persons as directors in FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc

Holdco

  1. Chairman – Remi Babalola
  2. Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole
  3. Kofo Dosekun
  4. Remi Lasaki
  5. Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq
  6. Ahmed Modibbo
  7. Khalifa Imam
  8. Sir Peter Aliogo
  9. UK Eke – Managing Director

Bank

  1. Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale
  2. Tokunbo Martins
  3. Uche Nwokedi
  4. Adekunle Sonola
  5. Isioma Ogodazi
  6. Ebenezer Olufowose
  7. Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo
  8. Sola Adeduntan – Managing Director
  9. Gbenga Shobo – Deputy Managing Director
  10. Remi Oni – Executive Director
  11. Abdullahi Ibrahim – Executive Director

12.0 The CBN hereby reassures the depositors, creditors and other stakeholders of the bank of its commitment to ensure the stability of the financial system. There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant.

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to make BDCs payout agents for diaspora remittances.

According to information from Abokifx – a prominent FX tracking website, at the black?market where forex is traded unofficially,?the Naira remained stable against the Dollar to close at N470/$1 on Thursday – the same rate that it exchanged for on Wednesday, December 30.

– The local currency had strengthened by about 7.8% within one week in September at the black market, as the CBN introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers.

– This is to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.

– However, the gains appear to have been completely erased with the recent crash of the exchange rate.

– The CBN has sold over $1 billion to BDCs since they resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020.

– This was expected to inject more liquidity into the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.

– However, the exchange rate against the dollar has remained volatile after the initial gains made, following the CBN’s resumption of sales of dollars to the BDCs.

– Despite the CBN’s intervention, the huge demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.

NAFEX

– The Naira depreciated against the?dollar at the Investors and?Exporters (I&E) window on Thursday, closing?at N410.25/$1.

– This represents a N16.25 drop when compared to the N394/$1 that it exchanged for on Wednesday, December 30.

– The opening indicative rate was N392.88 to a dollar on Thursday. This represents a 7 kobo gain when compared to the N392.95 that was recorded on Wednesday.

– The N412.05 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before, it still closed at N410.25 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N385/$1 during intra-day trading.

Forex turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window increased by 43% ?on Thursday,?December 31, 2020.

– According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ,?forex turnover rose from $164.81?million?on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, to?$235.75?million?on Thursday,?December 31,?2020.

– The CBN is still struggling to clear the backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate their funds.

– The increase in dollar supply after last week’s drop reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.

– The average daily forex sale for last week was about $169.93 million, which represents a huge increase from the $34.5 million that was recorded the previous week.

– Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of September was about $1.98 billion, compared to $843.97 million in August.

– The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

<p class="has-drop-cap has-vivid-red-color has-text-color" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Nigerian government has been criticised over the conviction of six Nigerians by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over an alleged funding of Boko Haram.Nigerian government has been criticised over the conviction of six Nigerians by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over an alleged funding of Boko Haram.

Daily Trust had reported on Monday that Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of the act.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, got ten-year imprisonment each.

The Court’s documents showed that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were allegedly involved in cash transfers totaling $782,000.00 to Boko Haram.

This conviction has generated reactions from Nigerians who called out the Buhari-led government for the delay in identifying and persecuting sponsors of Boko Haram.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN was also called out for not investigating the accounts yet so bothered about freezing accounts of End SARs promoters.

Here are some comments gathered by DAILY POST from Twitter;

@Sam_Basten “This is the first time I’m seeing someone being held accountable for Boko Haram and it’s not even a Nigerian court.”

@Syngar “Their conviction will be a good step to ending terrorism in Nigeria; they should also take a step further in publishing their names so the world will know them as the agents of darkness to Nigeria.”

@Abua_girl “For years now, Nigeria has not suspected or charged anyone for terrorism or involvement with Boko Haram. This shows that we are not even making any moves towards fighting Boko Haram. Audio fight.”

@Cvicright “Is the Central Bank of Nigeria not aware of such transactions? Since it affects the business of the Northern Oligarchs, it will play dumb. They feel threatened by protest for better governance and New Nigeria. Shame on
@cenbank.”

@Kaybenjamine “I’m not surprised. The Northern government is involved, the Buhari government is also involved. But time is ticking and their secret will be exposed. CBN knows their account yet won’t block but if to oppress the poor they will be number one. God’s punishment awaits them all and their household.

@Sambless “Something that CBN can’t do, but they can freeze the account of protesters.”

@Ibiwanne “The northern governors should be more concerned about unmasking the sponsors of this group & other groups operating without hindrance in the North, but instead, they are more concerned about regulating social media, even when some of them rode to power on the back of social media.”

@Tolu_Ene “This is how to deal with terrorists, not patting them on the head and begging them to drop arms.”

@Geoffreydpr “This is really funny, CBN did not see them transferring this money from 2015 to date, CBN is now a politician who freeze Nigerians account, CBN must hide his face in shame.”

@Idorenyinetuk5 “We definitely don’t have security agencies or intelligence agencies in Nigeria. We can only hope for foreign security agencies to do the job, while ours attack innocent citizens.”

  • @ +234-803865****7 ” It is unfortunate that most Nigerians are yet to come to terms that APC and Buhari government is oppressive, insensitive and heartless. Government that is lawless, brutal and extremely demonic. They sponsor all form of brutality, abhor rule of law and shamelessly prosecuting innocent people while real culprits walk tall and free in our streets. It’s high time people stand up and face the reality.”

CBN

Declining export receipts from oil and speculative activities of the Bureau De Change operators among other challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy will put more pressure on the naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria said this in its report on ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.

The value of the naira plunged further as it exchanged at 465/$ on the parallel market on Monday, after it exchanged at 460/$ on Thursday.

It had earlier exchange at 430/$ when the CBN commenced forex sales to the BDCs earlier in September.

Sequel to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said, the viability of the external sector in 2020 was expected to deteriorate, given the present worsening current account balance and depletion of external reserves driven, largely, by decelerating export receipts, particularly oil.

Specifically, it added, the degree of external reserves accumulation was expected to decelerate as outflows were expected to outweigh inflows.

As a result, external reserves were expected to lie between $29.9bn and $34.3bn at end-December 2020 (predicated on current declining oil price between $20 and $40).

“This development, in addition to exchange market pressures, emanating from speculative activities in the BDC and I & E segments of foreign exchange market, is expected to exert pressure on the naira exchange rate,” it stated.

Contrary to the view in some quarters that they were forced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resign from the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Chief Executive Officers of three Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country actually quit on their own volition, New Telegraph can confirm.

Three NESG Directors –the Group Managing Director of UBA Plc., Kennedy Uzoka; the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria Ltd., Dr. Adesola Adeduntan and Managing Director of Sterling Bank Plc., Abubakar Suleiman, abruptly tendered their resignations on Wednesday, a move that was widely believed to have been triggered by the criticisms levelled against the NESG by the apex bank over the Group’s press release titled, “Matters of urgent attention,” which clearly provoked the banking watchdog.

At least two of the bank CEOs last night confirmed to New Telegraph that they resigned from the NESG board because they were not privy to the NESG press release that riled the CBN. Stressing that they were not compelled by the CBN to quit the NESG board, they explained that as CEOs of lenders that are of systemic importance to the financial system, coupled with their membership of the Bankers’ Committee, it is inappropriate of them to be associated with statements critical of the apex bank.

They noted that the Bankers’ Committee provides a forum where issues, such as those raised in the NESG press release, are usually thrashed out. “A Nigerian lender cannot be seen to be criticizing its regulator just as Barclays does not criticize the Bank of England or JP Morgan does not criticize the Federal Reserve,” one of the CEOs said.

Besides, the two CEOs also raised concerns over what they described as corporate governance issues at the NESG. Specifically, they accused a member of the NESG, who is also a newspaper publisher, of leaking sensitive NESG documents to his publication, without the knowledge and approval of the NESG board.

In addition, they cited the comments that the business newspaper claimed that leading Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Konyin Ajayi, made on the NESG allegation that revisions to the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) are intended to confer immunity on the Governor of the CBN. According to the bank MDs, although the legal luminary told the news paper that he was certain that there was no attempt to confer immunity on the Governor of the CBN in the proposed BOFIA, the business publication still went ahead to publish the allegation.

The bank CEOs said that corporate governance at NESG must be reviewed to enable the organisation actualize its vision. It will be recalled that in its response to the NESG’s press release, the CBN in a statement, signed by its Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, expressed concern that despite what it described as the, “cordial and open relations between both organizations,” the NESG chose not to raise the issues directly with it, but instead released a press statement, the contents of which the economic summit group had earlier leaked to one of the business newspapers in the country. It described the NESG’s allegations as, “reflective of sinister motives and malicious intent.”