When Bankers Cannot Operate Foreign Bank Accounts

When Bankers Cannot Operate Foreign Bank Accounts

It looks like a great idea. Yes, if every stolen money in Nigeria is warehoused or shipped abroad  via the banking system, restricting bank leaders from operating bank accounts may reduce corruption. That is what a new proposal in the Nigerian parliament is pushing for: “It was observed that the Principal Act did not prohibit employees of banks from having foreign accounts. This omission may be exploited. The Amendment Bill expressly prohibits employees of banks from operating foreign accounts.” Besides the accounts, there is also a new playbook: the “Bill makes assets declaration by declarants to include the assets of their spouses and unmarried children less than 18 years old.” This is a distraction!

Workers in the banking sector may be barred from operating foreign accounts as the House of Representatives passed for second reading a bill to amend Banks Employees Act.

On Tuesday, the lawmakers debated the bill that seeks to amend a decree promulgated by the Ibrahim Babangida military administration.

The proposed bill provides that bank employees and customs officers must declare their assets.

According to the principal Act, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is the custodian of the asset declaration for bankers and customs officers.

Get me right: the government has to do what it has to do and the legislators certainly will put efforts to show they are working. But one question I have is this: has asset declaration and prohibition of foreign bank accounts stopped politicians from stealing Nigeria dry? What is the working paper examining when we introduced that law and what the impact has become? Daily, Nigeria continues to make laws without data, making everything look like a guesswork.

We do not need these distractions. Nigeria has many laws in the books to clean the society. What is lacking is strong enforcement. You do not need another law to try those who sent cash-stuffed bullion vans a night to election or the bank director who made payments to INEC commissioners. We know these people, and we have done nothing because they are untouchable people. By resorting to this law, the parliament is creating an impression that had we had the law, we could have done better. 

Do not be deceived. It is all a show!


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One thought on “When Bankers Cannot Operate Foreign Bank Accounts

  1. We lack human capabilities here, I do not believe the school of thought that thinks we truly have smart people in good numbers, only that they do not want to do the right thing. No, we do not really have them.

    The problem is mistaking knowing what to do with the capability to do it. We have a lot of people who are great at the former, but the latter? Not at all.

    This overestimation of competence and knowhow is what is drowning the country. I don’t agree that we have a critical mass of men and women with character, intellectual capital and execution capability, to get things. It’s all farce, just average creatures with responsibilities way above their competence.

    We don’t know how to prevent stealing, we cannot catch thieves, we cannot prosecute the few we managed to catch; yet we keep going round and round. The EFCC chair said the other day that he has received death threats, so we should clap or pity him? Receiving death threats should be a given, getting killed is also part of the deal, as long as you have the willpower to go after our common adversaries. We are too pathetic here, no character, no valour.

    We are nowhere near as great as we think of ourselves here, it’s delusional to believe otherwise. Nonsense.


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