By Kola Animasaun
I got a letter from Ghanni Nigeria Limited of 24, Taiwo Koya Street, Ilupeju, Lagos State. They are farmers and they are dealing with Riverside Microfinance Bank of Ado-Odo in Ogun State .
Ghanni Nigeria Limited negotiated a loan of N600,000 (six hundred thousand naira) only which would have attracted three per cent interest by the Central Bank (agricultural loan). But the bank presumed the company used the loan for a different purpose and hence charged 36 per cent interest per annum. Ghanni Nigeria has demanded a review of the interest to no avail.
Accordingly, Riverside Microfinance Bank has declined “as it is in their practice of settling loan is illegal way of invading their clients farm; remove valuable products and dispose of them the way they wish.”
Ghanni Nigeria Limited said, “there is the case of an illiterate woman whose eight cows were carted away and sold for nothing just to settle a small loan.”
Ghanni said at the time the matter was going on, the company had six pregnant cows. Rather than allow the bank to cart them away for sale, it opted for peaceful settlement.
Riverside and Ghanni met for negotiation but Riverside was unyielding and it paid N90,000 (Ninety thousand naira), they claimed. Even then, Ghanni was rest assured it will be resolved in their favour. But it was not.
Ghanni Nigeria Limited is in fear of the thousands of borrowers who have suffered similar fate.
By last July 22, Ghanni Nigeria Limited fired a letter of protest to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abeokuta. And, the bank manager ignored the letter, refused to read it and the letter was returned unread.
Another letter of September 22, 2010, was sent to the Governor of the CBN, Abuja, that one too met a similar fate.
The Central Bank makes a dance and song of agricultural loan and that was why the letter has been directed to us thus:
“22nd September, 2010.The Governor,Central Bank of Nigeria , Abuja .
Re: Interest rate charged by Riverside Microfinance Bank, Ado-Odo, Ogun State, for agricultural project
I obtained a loan of N600,000 (Six hundred thousand naira) from Riverside Microfinance Bank Ltd, Ado-Odo, Ogun State, last year April and have more than paid back the loan because the bank forced me to pay in excess of the loan and interest.
The reason given by the bank for the excess interest charged was that it obtained the fund from outside sources over which the CBN has no control. If the bank (Riverside Microfinance Bank) has no such facility it has no business granting agricultural loan and charge rural farmer the exorbitant interest rate of 36 per cent which I was forced to pay otherwise the bank would have walked in and carted away my cattle as it has done to others.
This is unheard of. Even if the bank had sourced its fund from outside sources, compelling it to charge its customers the exorbitant interest your bank should have borne the excess interest or disallowed since I did not expect any finance house or bank to charge 36 per cent for agricultural project.
I protested to your Abeokuta control office to call the bank to order. Your Branch Manager ignored the letter, she refused to read it. The letter was returned to me un-read.
My question is, sir, what is the policy of your bank on agricultural loan? Did the interest rate of 36 per cent receive your approval? The loan was obtained for oil palm production.
If not, please, wade into my protest and call the bank to order and direct its management to reverse the over-charged interest and let me have credit for the excess interest charged.
Alhaji M.A. Ghanni.
PS: Enclosed are the bank Statements of Account and the Bank Teller No. 1054730 (Oceanic Bank) showing the final payment of N90,000 (Ninety thousand naira only).
The South-West Regional Editor of the Vanguard let it be known that Major-General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd) has been conferred the title of Asiwaju of Yorubaland. And, he inferred that by the title, General Adebayo had “whittle down” the influence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
This title was courtesy of the Yoruba Council of Elders, who subscribe to its credo. It was a sectional group and whatever it was, it did not carry beyond the group.
Tinubu is the Asiwaju of Lagos. A title conferred on him by the late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan of Lagos . He was the political head of Lagos at that time and he had exercised his influence on it ever since. And, there is no way we want to compare the two Asiwajus. And, I do not think that either of them wants to compare. There are many other Asiwajus all over the Yoruba Kingdom but the Asiwaju of the Source is different.