$7bn banks bailout: Group charges CBN to investigate ‘free money’ claims

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been charged to investigate and respond to claims that the seven billion dollars ($7bn) bailout fund to commercial banks in October 2006 is “free money”.

This was contained in a statement signed by the convener, South South Reawakening Group, Joseph Ambakederimo, and issued to newsmen in Warri, Delta State.

Ambakederimo demanded that all information regarding the transaction be made available to Nigerians in line with the Freedom of Information Act, adding that the fund, which belongs to the three tiers of government, could be deployed for infrastructural development of the nation.

Describing as a “rape of the Nigerian state” reports that the then CBN Board of Directors resolved that the bailout money to the banks was “not repayable”, the statement emphasised that the banks are private establishments with the aim of making profits.

Hence the $7 billion and its dividends over the years should be recovered and “returned to taxpayers”.

The statement said: “We have come to the conclusion that the $7bn bailout funds given to banks in October 2006 was a grand scale fraud primarily designed to deny the Nigerian people of good life and happiness.

“It is safe to say that this could be the first of its kind we have seen where people in the private sector collude with people in the public sector to deliberately engage in schemes that would take away so much money and deprive the Nigerian people good infrastructure these funds would have provided for them

“If what we are hearing is true that the funds are a “dash”, “not repayable” to the banks who are purely private entities that were set up by private people to make profit that would pay for their holidays in the Bahamas and Acapulco, then it is nothing but a rape of the Nigerian state.

“The claim that the then board of directors of the CBN through a resolution passed and gave out such an amount of money free of charge sounds very insulting and nonsensical and a joke taken too far.

“The conduct of those who superintended over this mess breached professional standards, their duties, responsibilities, discreditable conduct, integrity, authority, respect and courtesy. It is an abuse of position for personal gains.

“It is for this singular reason that the South South Reawakening Group is working with the special panel on recovery of public property to ensure that we unravel the mystery surrounding this issue.

“Our mandate would be to unravel the many unanswered questions. Those who authorised the resolution of ‘Dashing $7bn to private entities,’ what were the conditions attached to the transaction, the memorandum of understanding between the CBN and the banks which was deliberately executed in secrecy?” the statement said.

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