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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor






September, 2009
NigerianNews Letter to the Editor

September 04, 2009

The Elders/Deacons in our Society and the 5 Banks Dear Editor,

A few weeks ago, CBN released the names of those owing the 5 banks billions of naira, and also teamed up with the almighty EFCC to find ways of retrieving the monies. As soon as EFCC swung into action, jitters were sent to the spines of our “big men”, who are the “big debtors” and the CEOs/Managing Directors of the banks their collaborators in their shady banking practices. Some have now being sacked. The list of the “big debtors” consists of names of powerful men and women within the society that we all hold in high esteem. These are people who are respected in our nation; and who sit in high places in our big churches and mosques, always dispensing advice to the youths and the nation at large on money management and how to be morally upright and honest in all aspects of life. They are men and women who had been decorated with divers of medals, at the national and international levels, and also in the secular and the so called religious institutions. It is amusing to see these respected men and women running helter-skelter trying to redeem their names by paying up their debts before the ultimatum given to them by the almighty EFCC expires. . Those that were short of cash started selling out their properties and asset to offset their debts.

 To make the matter worse, The Guardian News of Tuesday September 01, 2009 reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have traced some of the funds allegedly siphoned away by some of the five bank chiefs to mainly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and London. According to a source in the Commission, some of the funds also were stashed away within the country and some unnamed European countries. "The commission would soon repatriate the funds to the country," the source added. He disclosed further that the Commission would reveal how much each bank's chieftain laundered when they appear in court, adding "it will be in their charge sheets." He revealed that the EFCC was still hunting for the front men and others who helped the sacked CEOs to launder the funds, which he said, runs into billions of naira. It was because of this, he said, that the Commission has declared some of the bank chiefs wanted.

This latest development and release of names of the “big debtors” owing billions of naira by the CBN diminishes the respect most Nigerians have had for our big men instantly. The fact of the matter is, there is actually nothing wrong with loans from banks to finance one’s business however, what is wrong is for these “big men” and “women” to abuse their positions to default the loan by not complying with its terms. According to the CBN, these respected so called billionaires have failed to respect the terms of their loans and this could not have been done without the collaboration of our “Elders” in the banking industry known as the “CEOs” or “Managing Directors”. These “big debtors” were not ready or willing to pay back their loans had the CBN not let the cat out of the bag. 

In the bid to redeem their names, some of the “big debtors” and the “elders” in the banking industry started using big grammar to confuse or convince the public that they are innocent; some have even taken the matter to the court. The common person on the street might not understand the big grammar, but would understand that if there is a debt you owed, you need to pay back and respect all the terms of the loan. 

The questions that keep coming to mind are: Why do they think the terms of the loans were not to be respected? Do they think the loans were donations from the banks or part of their own share of the national cake? Were they thinking they could just sweep the loans under the carpet with the manipulations of figures in conjunction with the banks’ officials or CEOs? And why is it that only after the EFCC swung into action that they started paying? And why were the CEOs or Managing Directors of the 5 banks, who are at the same time “elders and deacons” in our big churches and mosques involved in this shameful acts?

What marvels is that the same government that revealed them had been their friends and romancing with them in the past by giving medals and national awards to them. They on their parts are financiers of different gigantic projects in the political and religious affairs of our nation.  One then wonders the parameters with which the government has been meting out these national awards. The same could be said of our religious institutions that have honoured them with various titles such as “Elders” and “Deacons”. Do the church and mosques today now look critically the lifestyles of their members before making them elders, deacons or whatever title they are giving out? Furthermore, what kind of sermons are our pastors and imams preaching these days? They have all neglected the real teachings of the Bible and Quran which anchor on uprightness and moral life; what we hear everyday is about prosperity which encourages everybody in our society to think of any short cut to getting rich. The religious institutions tell our “big men” and “women” what they love to hear, not what they ought to hear. The big pastors and imams in our nation are scared of losing favour with the billionaires who are elders and deacons among them. They want to keep on enjoying the free flow of money from them, ride in the best cars, fly in private jets and own mansions all over the country.  

Therefore, don’t we think that our highly respected and big pastors, imams and the same government that let everything out ought to be part of the blame, since; they are part of those that benefited from the loans directly or indirectly. Don’t we think that they all should be held responsible for the problem currently going on in the banking sector? 

Adesina Shoyode