By Emma Ujah & Judith Ekezie
ABUJAâ€”The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Sen. Nkechi Nwaogwu, said yesterday, the legislature was battling former chairmen and directors of failed banks who were indebted to such banks in order to sanitise the banking system and restore depositorsâ€™ confidence in the banking sector.
Several former bank chairmen and directors who took huge loans from the banks that failed to make the 2006 consolidation exercise were named at the senate on Wednesday, in an unprecedented measure to instill discipline among banksâ€™ owners.
She spoke at the opening of the conference on poverty eradication through economic and political, organised by the Foundation for Democracy in Africa (FDA), in Abuja.
Her words, â€œWhat the Senate is saying is that he who is bestowed with responsibility should not abuse it. If you notice the figure in question, the people we are talking of now are the former directors and managing directors and chairmen, board of directors of those banks that failed.
â€œWe are not talking about people who borrowed money from the banks in the cause of doing business. No! And we are saying that it is not fair for these directors to use insider privileges and borrow so much money for one thing or the other to refuse to pay and at the end of the day these banks died and they died with customers money.
â€œIf we are running around asking over 60 percent of the population who do not have bank accounts for them to go and have bank accounts as we blame them for not putting their money under their pillow cases.
Then, will it be nice when they put their money at the end of the day these banks go underground deliberately or not deliberately and they are not paid their deposits.
â€œFour years down the line and the people who borrowed through the back doors are unable to pay. What the Senate is saying is that we must begin to be our brothersâ€™ keepers. We must sanitize. We are talking of branding, we must brand from within, we brand from ourselvesâ€.
Sen. Nwaogwu observed that some of the debtors had become very wealthy through facilities taken from the collapsed banks and were even being given public portfolios, while the depositors continued to suffer their losses, which she said was unacceptable.
According to her, â€œas we speak, there are still over N188billion depositorsâ€™ money not paid and people are dying in penury. Somebody who is owed N100million you are telling him that your bank is in court. He did not take the Central Bank to court.
He is not a party to the court case. So, why should you unilaterally, illegally join him?