Group calls for the arrest of Jimoh Ibrahin

A group under the aegis of Constitutional Democracy Initiative (CDI) has called for the immediate arrest of the billionaire businessman, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim for utterances allegedly designed to instigate ethnic strife

A statement by the Executive Secretary of the group, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, partly reads, “we at CDI condemns the irresponsible statement made by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim over the ongoing efforts of the CBN Governor to consolidate the economy.

Mr. Ibrahim has in his pursuit of blind and unrealizable selfish desires clashed with the interest of millions of Nigerians. Even though every Nigerian knows the antecedent and background of Jimoh Ibrahim and how he came to his acclaimed business level, his tribal attack on the CBN Governor is the least action even a fool can indulge in. His statement that CBN is pursuing a Biafran agenda is irresponsible, callous, wicked, and unacceptable and a treasonable statement”.

Jimoh Ibrahim

In a telephone chat with Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the spokesman for CDI, he observed that Mr Ibrahim had exposed himself as a pathetic greenhorn on economic matters when he advocated the Robert Mugabe solution of printing more naira notes as a way out of the present economic distress. “One look at the economy of Zimbabwe will reveal that Mr. Ibrahim economic ideologies can only run Nigera aground and should be discountenanced as a lucky wheeler-dealer”.

He added that the statement credited to Jimoh Ibrahim is part of the game plan of some faceless economic coup plotters to divide the nation on tribal lines and help institute fear and loss of confidence in the economy so people like Ibrahim can cash-in on the loss. “We know he is a man who loves trading in controversial assets and may have exposed himself unknowingly, as the ring leader of the masked men who wants to use smear campaign to discredit the banking industry and then buy into them.

Jimoh Ibrahim should be called to order by the Nigerian police and restrained from making further incisive comments against any tribe in the country,” he stressed. In an earlier press conference, penultimate week, the CDI, alleged the emergence of a cabal of disgruntled politicians, failed bank chiefs and overnight economic experts who have commenced a nationwide smear campaign targeted at the economic development sector of Nigeria which is the core foundation of the President Yar’Adua’s seven-point agenda.

They further alleged that the said cabal have outlined the use of rumors, disjointed facts, sponsored media attacks and circulation of alarming text messages to run down the economic sector of Nigeria . “This will in turn make the banks look unsafe, the consolidation gains will be reversed, the CBN will be distracted, The Central Bank governor and his efforts and personality must have been tarnished and the nation will run into an economic grave. But can they succeed? The answer is no.

Nigerians can see through their game plan”, Ikenga Imo fumed. It will be recalled that in a bid to guarantee capital adequacy, liquidity and efficient regulatory frameworks in the Nigerian banking sector, Prof. Charles C. Soludo initiated the Banking Consolidation programme in July 6, 2004, which was concluded in December, 2005.The exercise saw 75 banks collapsed into 25 strong banks with larger capital base of over $5billion each within a short span of 18 months from 89 banks with less than $3billion.

This enhanced liquidity in the banking sector, forcing interest rate down and raised credit to private sector from less than 5% to 40%. As a result, non-oil sector grew by 8.5% in 2005. The successful consolidation of the sector helped to minimize cyclical distress among the banking sector and improved corporate governance within the banks.

It also boosted the capital market with additional N500 billion, the highest non-oil related investment ever mobilized within a space of 18 months and raised share of market capitalization by banks from 30% to 50%. Interestingly, the cost of Liquidation was less than 1% of GDP, the lowest ever in the history of banking sector consolidation in the world.

Not a few well informed Nigerians believe that the campaign against Soludu is not bordered on incompetence or fraud but on sentiments. Dr Bola O. Johnson, told in a telephone chat that “any conspiracy against Soludo at this point, is a conspiracy against the economy of Nigeria.”