By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has promised to persecute anyone found to be responsible for the failure of the erstwhile Skye Bank.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the takeover of the defunct bank, and the formation of a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, in its place, in collaboration with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
The Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, expressed government’s position on those behind the failure of the former bank during a familiarity visit to the NDIC headquarters in Abuja Friday.
A statement by the Director (Information), Ministry of Finance Hassan Dodo said the the minister directed the NDIC Managing Director/CEO Umaru Ibrahim to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out in the failure of Skye Bank, adding that at the end of the investigations, all those found culpable in the failure will be prosecuted.
“The example of the recently wound-up Skye Bank, now Polaris Bank is something we would look into. We would find out what happened. Your investigation must be thorough, we are going to hold whoever was responsible for the failure of that bank.
“We have to show some examples, we cannot just be bailing out banks and leaving perpetrators of the failure of these banks to just go scot free. Even though you intervene by protecting depositors, but your intervention is limited.
“You’re not able to payback all that the depositors have. We must show some examples and this is a good one for us to start with,” the minister said.
Ahmed stressed the need for the NDIC to continuously monitor the banks to ensure that problems are detected early and solved before they become crises.
She said: “The role that you have in monitoring banks should be continuous, because if you capture these issues early, there is a better chance of us protecting these banks, protecting shareholders and depositors.”
The minister commended the NDIC for adherence to the requirements of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by constantly paying its operational surpluses to the federal government.
“I can confirm to you that just within this week, the sum of N15 billion was received by the federal government and this brings to about N107 billion that NDIC has paid to date,” she said.
According to her, the job of the NDIC of ensuring capital adequacy within the banking system, ensuring profitability, ensuring access to finances are very important for the success of the administration and the economy, stressing that the agency should work with the CBN to reduce the number of unbanked citizens.
Earlier in his remarks, Ibrahim had briefed the minister on the achievements and challenges of the agency.