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Nigerian banks are contributors to destruction of economy ─Ex-Minister, analysts

*Isa Yuguda, former Governor of Bauchi State and ex-Minister of State for Transport and Aviation, and other experts have accused banks of being contributors to destruction of the Nigerian economy, explaining how the bankers explore several ways to make illegal transactions, which even the industry ‘regulators will hardly notice’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Amid widespread accusations of alleged banks’ collusion with some individuals, businesses and politicians to instigate the free fall of Naira for years, Isa Yuguda, a former Governor of Bauchi State and ex-Minister of State for Transport and Aviation, has pointedly accused banks of being contributors to destruction of the Nigerian economy.

Yuguda stated this while featuring in a Channels TV programme monitored Thursday, February 22, 2024, in Lagos.

Isa Yuguda, ex-Minister of State for Transport and Aviation       Photo: Channels TV

He also responded to questions on the current economic hardship in Nigeria which apparently, has reduced the purchasing power of several consumers.

The ex-Bauchi State Chief Executive also stressed that most of the Nigerian bankers do not care about the advancement of the West African country but about making money with their financial institutions to live abroad with their families.

He recalled: “From my own experience in the banking industry in year 2000 to join the cabinet of Chief (Olusegun Obasanjo. “So, with my experience then, banks have really contributed in no small way to destroying the economy of Nigeria because for some of our colleagues, it is not about Nigeria.”

Banks milking Nigeria dry: Yuguda

Yuguda also quipped: “How can they use their institutions to make money and live outside Nigeria with their families, and then continue milking Nigeria through the banks?”

He further alleged that the banks commit infractions by engaging in illegal transactions that even the industry regulators find difficult to unravel.

It is equally noted that banks and other financial institutions have come under attack in view the recent economic hardship and attendant dislocations across the country in recent times.

ConsumerConnect reports that several Nigerians have equally accused banks of contributing to  the free fall of Naira, the national currency, through Foreign Exchange (Forex) infractions, arbitrage, round tripping, and hiding of stolen public funds for corrupt politicians.

It was also learnt that a key member of the Special Investigator team, who President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had appointed to probe the recent operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in a recent unsigned viral blog post, had also affirmed that the team really uncovered details of the damage most banks have caused the country and Nigerian consumers in the past years.

Most bankers are ‘cowboys’, say analysts

A former banker and financial analyst, also wrote in a recent piece, that the banks and their Executives in connivance with the politicians, have destroyed the country and its economy.

He stated: “If Nigeria is the cesspool of financial corruption, the banks, especially the top hierarchies, are the major criminals and culprits and check them all out.

“They are all billionaires as key facilitators of all the financial crimes and financial corruption of this nation.”

The expert also declared: “99% of Bank MDs and CEOs are criminals; yes including whoever comes to your mind right now. Once you have access to a banking licence in Nigeria, you are an overnight billionaire.

“They are intelligent, driven, ambitious, and can get things done, but they are driven by wanton greed and they take advantage of the rotten Nigerian system.”

Another market analyst, who has worked in the country’s banking financial system for over 25 years, but did not want his name mentioned, also commented on the likely nexus between the current socio-economic hardship and the banking sector contribution to igniting same.

In regard to allegations of underhand deals from mergers and acquisitions, illegal Forex transactions to round tripping, among other infractions in the banking sector, he simply told this publication, that “it is a case of ‘the more you look, the less you see.’ “

The expert added the clincher: “Most of these guys (bankers) are Cowboys. You can see the case of (Godwin) Emefiele….”

Banks’ illegal transactions, not real sector financing

According to Yuguda, the banks also engage in illegal transactions that even the banking and finance industry regulators find difficult to unravel.

He averred: “There are so many ways to make illegal transactions that even the regulators will hardly notice them, but financing of the real sector.

“If you look at the balance sheets of banks, the real sector financing, maybe it is just paper intrigues. If you do a forensic audit, you will discover that they just want to satisfy the regulators.”

The former Governor stated: “They are basically trading in money, trading in FX, almost all the banks; and that is why I am happy that the Central Bank Governor (Dr. Olayemi Cardoso) has taken a position to say all those open positions where bank CEOs amass Dollars in their balance sheets to the extent that they deny the markets Dollars. I must say that banks must be professional.”

Yuguda, nonetheless,  lamented that the CBN printed money to finance consumption, recurrent expenditure.

He noted this is not done anywhere in the world, alleging the economy managers were careless to have done that.

As prices of foodstuffs, other commodities, and cost of living soar in the past few months, Nigerians in some states to protest against the harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, Forex crisis, among others.

Such demonstrations have been organised in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Abuja, and some parts of the country, as protesters called on the authorities to ease off the hardship on the populace.

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