Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Wednesday disclosed that its timely intervention through the bridge bank mechanism brought about the successful acquisition of the failed Skye Bank by Polaris Bank, which saved over 6,000 jobs.

NDIC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ahaji Umaru Ibrahim, stated that apart from the staff retaining their jobs, all depositors and creditors of the failed bank whose liabilities were assumed by Polaris Bank Limited had unfettered access to their funds.

Ibrahim, who spoke at a sensitisation seminar for Court of Appeal Justices in Abuja, said: “As a result of NDIC and CBN’s intervention, Polaris Bank successfully acquired Skye Bank Plc, under the bridge bank mechanism. Some of the positive results of the bridge bank option is that Polaris Bank currently operates in the 300 branches of the defunct Skye Bank PLC premises all over the country without disruption of banking transaction.
“This has saved over 6,000 employees of the failed Skye Bank from being out of jobs ” he added.

He vowed that the corporation would bring to justice all those indicted over the failure of the bank so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Ibrahim disclosed that the former directors and management of the defunct bank, who contributed to the failed bank, were currently under investigation by relevant government agencies to determine their culpability or otherwise in the failure of the bank, adding that those indicted would be prosecuted.

He noted that the development was made possible due to effective collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies in the financial sector who had one way or the other helped in minimising the occurrence of unlawful dealings, weak internal control and overall non-compliance to prudential guidelines.

Ibrahim stressed that such collaboration was even much desired at this time when the banking licences of 153 Microfinance banks and six Primary Mortgage Banks were recently revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Describing the Corporation’s collaboration with the judiciary as a “very valuable engagement in the development of Nigeria’s financial system, he said, “It is pertinent to note that legal issues involving the operation of the Deposit Insurance system are considered critical to the achievement of the Corporation’s statutory mandate of depositor protection, supervision, distress resolution and liquidation of failed insured institution.

In her opening address, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said the collaboration between the judiciary and NDIC was an avenue to learn about the workings of the financial service sector and the deposit insurance system (DIS) in particular.

She noted that the interaction which is six years old now, is in recognition of the fact that bank supervisors in the financial services sector and the judiciary were partners in the promotion of financial system stability in the country, adding that the deposit insurance scheme is a critical component of the financial safety net arrangement which is to protect depositors.