Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, President, Court of Appeal;

Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal;

Members of the Inner and Outer Bar

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is with sincere delight that I address this august gathering of distinguished Jurists and invited guests.

It is on record that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, with the assistance of the Judiciary, initiated the Sensitization Seminar for Judicial Officers with the theme; Challenges To Deposit Insurance Law and Practice in Nigeria, sometime in 2012.  Thus, the seminar has run for six years now and there is no gainsaying the fact that it has been worthwhile.

We are happy to report that the seminar has contributed tremendously towards building capacity for Judicial Officers in the laws applicable to Bank Deposit Insurance in Nigeria. The invaluable contributions of my Lords to the successes so far recorded deserves our commendation and appreciation. On this note, I would like to express my earnest appreciation to all participants for making out time from your very busy schedules to attend this year’s seminar.

It is pertinent to note that legal issues involving the operation of the Deposit Insurance system are considered critical to the achievement of the Corporation’s statutory mandate of depositor protection, supervision, distress resolution and liquidation of failed insured institutions.

Accordingly, I am truly glad to inform you that the  organisation and incorporation of a bridge bank;  Polaris Bank Limited to take over the assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank Plc records yet another milestone in the annals of successful bank failure resolution measures in Deposit Insurance practice in Nigeria.

Therefore, as a result of NDIC and CBN’s intervention, Polaris bank successfully acquired Skye bank under the bridge bank mechanism. Some of the positive results of the bridge bank option is that Polaris bank currently operates in the 300 branches of the defunct Skye bank Plc premises all over the country, with no disruption of banking transactions; this has saved over 6,000 employees of the failed Skye bank from being out of jobs. In the same vein, depositors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc are guaranteed access to their total deposits, while other creditors of the failed Skye Bank plc whose liabilities are assumed by Polaris Bank Limited, also have unfettered access to their funds.

May I also use this opportunity to inform this gathering that the erstwhile Directors and Management of Skye bank Plc. who contributed to the failure of the failed Skye bank are being investigated by relevant government agencies to determine their culpability or otherwise in the failure of the bank, and would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

I wish to assure our stakeholders, including the Judiciary that the NDIC would not relent in its collaboration efforts with the CBN and other agencies in the Financial Sector as it would help in minimizing the occurrence of unlawful dealings, weak internal control and overall non-compliance to prudential guidelines.

The importance of close collaboration and supervision of financial institutions is even more important especially with the recent revocation of the banking licences of 153 Microfinance banks and 6 Primary Mortgage Banks by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria vide publication of the Order of Revocation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No.125 Vol.105 dated 3rd October 2018, the Corporation became their liquidator with the mandate to wind them up.

The banks were closed because some were found to have insufficient assets to meet their liabilities while others had their capital to risk weighted assets ratio and regulatory capital below the minimum prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Furthermore, quite a number had ceased to carry on the type of banking business for which their licenses were issued for a continuous period of more than 6 months while others had gone into voluntary liquidation.

Accordingly, the NDIC has commenced payment of depositors to the long suffering depositors of 25 out of the closed MFBs, and deposit verification of 50 others; while the closure of the 71, which according to the Official Gazette had either ‘ceased to carry on …..banking business’ or ‘gone into voluntary liquidation’ have just been concluded on Friday, 7th December 2018.

In the light of the foregoing, the Corporation considers our collaboration with the Judiciary a very valuable engagement in the development of Nigeria’s financial system. It would be observed that the presentations for this year’s seminar have been carefully chosen to reflect topical issues of concern to bank supervisors. The notions of ‘too big to fail’ and ‘living wills’ would be analysed in the paper which reviews the regulatory framework for systematically important banks; while the robustness of the Failed Banks Act to facilitate the effective debt recovery of failed banks would also be examined in the paper on Salient Features of the Failed Banks Act for Promotion of Effective Debt Recovery for Failed Banks. Finally, the issues, challenges and opportunities of Fintech would be discussed in the final paper titled “Financial technology and the banking Industry”.

The paper discussing debt recovery under the Failed Banks Act would reiterate the efficacy of that legislation in promoting timely recovery of debts owed to failed banks, which is a necessary precondition for enhancing reimbursement of depositors funds while the impact of financial technology in the banking sector is also an issue currently on the front burner of discussions in the financial sector.

We are pleased to inform you that the Corporation has compiled for publication, papers presented at our previous sensitization seminars for judicial officers and copies would be forwarded to my Lords following publication of the compendium.

As usual, at this seminar, the Corporation would be looking forward to drawing as much as we can from your rich repertoire of knowledge and experience and you are hereby assured that your observations and comments reflecting your perception of the issues raised during deliberations at this seminar, would be highly appreciated.

My Lords, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may I, on behalf of the Staff and Management of the Corporation, express our profound appreciation to my Lord, the President of the Court of Appeal, and of course all the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal for the support rendered to the Corporation to ensure the successful holding of this seminar.

I wish my Lords a fruitful deliberation.

Thank you for your attention

Umaru Ibrahim, FCIB, mni
December, 2018