Senate to probe illegal charges, deductions by banks

The Senate has concluded plans to investigate the increasing rate of deductions and charges made by the Central Bank of Nigeria and other commercial banks on account of their customers.

The motion was adopted by Senator Magnus Abe and 22 others, entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate, Regularise and Amend Conflicting, Vague and Unjust Remedies, which the Central Bank of Nigeria Offers to Victims of Excessive and Arbitrary Bank Charges and Illegal Deductions by Commercial Banks.’

The lawmakers urged the federal government to protect customers’ right and eradicate short payment of interests and excess arbitrary bank charges.

The lawmakers also directed the Senate committee on banking, insurance and other Financial Institutions to conduct a public hearing and invite the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, his officials and other stakeholders.

Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, who seconded the motion, described as fearful what he called monumental fraud in the banking sector.

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“In an era that we claim to be fighting corruption and we ignore this sector, I think we are just doing eye service to the fight against corruption. This is one critical area that if we focus on, it will save a lot of Nigerians from the pains they are going through,” he said.

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, said the lawmakers would defend Nigerians.

He stated, “Particularly at this difficult time, every naira is important and we must be seen to be defending the interests of Nigerians who don’t have the voice to defend themselves.

“Again, the issue here is to get to the bottom of what the laws and guidelines are, and to be sure that they (banks) are in line with the laws and have the powers to make such pronouncements (on charges).”