Nigeria Banks To Shutdown Nationwide

dss_nigeriaA major crisis looms in the financial sector, as all banks in the country may shut their doors to customers anytime this week, as their chief executive officers (CEOs) move to protest the continued detention of their staff by the Department of State Security (DSS).

Daily Sun gathered that the CEOs are irked by the arrest and detention of several key officials of no fewer than 13 banks over the last two weeks by security operatives, saying that this has not only crippled their operations but also poses a great risk if normal banking operations continues.

The 13 banks directly affected by the arrests are Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), First Bank Plc, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Diamond Bank, Ecobank, Wema Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and CitiBank.

The arrest of the bank officials are linked to money laundering case against the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, a key member of the G7 governors, who is also one of the arrowheads of the New PDP believed to be opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan’s rumoured second term ambition.

The DSS is said to be investigating questionable transactions involving the governor and two of his sons, Aminu and Mustapha, who is the District Head of Bamaina, their hometown. While the governor is said to have escaped arrest, as a result of his constitutional immunity, his two sons were arrested last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, it is the DSS that is handling the case of the bankers.

According to the DSS, following the arrest of Aminu, last year, at the Aminu Kano International Airport Kano, for failing to make full declaration of the $50, 000 he had on him while trying to board a flight to Egypt, where his wife was receiving treatment, further investigation of the sources of income of the governor’s son revealed huge transactions involving the movement of Jigawa State funds into accounts of companies in which both the governor and his two sons are believed to have interest. The amount involved, according to the DSS, is about N10 billion.

The DSS had subsequently swooped on the 13 banks in which the companies have accounts and even obtained a court order to freeze the accounts. Also, it had begun a systematic arrest and detention of senior officials of the bank in the last two weeks.

While not questioning the powers of the DSS to arrest anybody, a source close to one of the bank chief executive told Daily Sun yesterday that the CEOs were worried that the bankers have been held without arraignment, for over two weeks, a clear violation of their rights.

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