The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has removed Ibukun Awosika, Oba Otudeko and other directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited over what it termed the directors refusal to submit to regulatory authority.
The CBN also accused the directors of corporate governance breach, accusing them of taking actions that compromised the health of the bank.
The apex bank faulted the sack of Dr. Sola Adeduntan as the MD/CEO of First Bank Limited, saying it was done without approval from the regulator.
The CBN described the action as unacceptable considering the fact that the apex bank has been interfering in the bank since 2016 to avoid the bank which was heavily exposed to non-performing loans not to collapse.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who announced the regulatory action at a press briefing on Thursday said, “The CBN considers itself a key stakeholder in management changes involving FBN due to the forbearances and close monitoring by the Bank over the last 5 years aimed at stemming the slide in the going concern status of the bank.
“For the CBN to learn through media reports that the board of directors of FBN, a systemically important bank under regulatory forbearance regime had effected sweeping changes in executive management without engagement and/or prior notice to the regulatory authorities.
“The action by the board of FBN sends a negative signal to the market on the stability of leadership on the board and management and it is in light of the foregoing that the CBN queried the board of directors on the unfortunate developments at the bank.
“By our last assessment, FBN has over 31m customers, with deposit base of N4.2 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N618 billion and NIBSS instant payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22% of the industry.
“To us at the CBN, not only is it imperative to protect the minority shareholders, that have no voice to air their views, also important, is the protection of the over 31m customers of the bank who see FBN as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings.”
The details of the new board changes are:
For the Holdco, the Chairman Mr. Remi Babalola. The other board members are: Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole, Kofo Dosekun, Remi Lasaki, Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq, Ahmed Modibbo, Khalifa Imam, Sir Peter Aliogo, and UK Eke, who is the Managing Director.
For the Bank, the chairman is Chairman – Tunde Hassan-Odukale. Other board memebrs are: Tokunbo Martins, Uche Nwokedi, Adekunle Sonola, Isioma Ogodazi, Ebenezer Olufowose, Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo, Sola Adeduntan (Managing Director), Gbenga Shobo (Deputy Managing Director), Remi Oni (Executive Director) and Abdullahi Ibrahim (Executive Director.)
Mr. Emefiele further explained that the action of the apex bank is to “preserve stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors.