North moves to take control of banks

The North has launched fresh moves to seize the current fallout of the reforms in the banking sector to significantly increase its shareholding in the sector. The move by the North was part of the resolution at its recent meeting held in Kaduna which communiqué was not released to the public.

However reliable sources at the meeting told The Nation  that the meeting decided on a comprehensive mobilisation of its elites towards taking control of a chunk in the banks’ shares. To achieve the dream, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF’s National Working Committee, NWC has set up a committee to implement the plan.

The Nation reliably gathered that the issue was part of the main agenda during the ACF National Working Committee’s last two meetings in Kaduna .

An aspect of the resolution obtained by our correspondent stated: “On issues concerning the banking sector, the (ACF) chairman stated that a committee was set up by the National Working Committee in order to address the issue. It stated that ‘the North must take advantage of any opportunity of acquiring equities in the banking sector.”  The decisions were contained in a resolution reached at the end of its July 1 meeting and signed by ACF’s chairman, General I.B.M. Haruna (rtd) and its Secretary-General, Colonel Musa Shehu (rtd). Another meeting held on September 30 also reaffirmed this position. The Nation learnt that more rigorous discussion of the issue took place at the September meeting.

The meeting presided over by General I.B.M. Haruna (rtd) exhaustively discussed issues surrounding mobilization of northerners for decisive investment towards acquiring worthwhile equity holdings in the banking industry. 


According to insiders, the ACF NWC whose members have met the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi were impressed with current efforts to sanitize the banking system.

There have been accusations that the recent shakeup in the banking industry was aimed at strengthening the North economically, but the ACF Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani has continued to deny any Southern agenda. He has expressed anger over speculations in the media seeking to imply that influential citizens of northern origin helped scuttle several banks so that northern interests can acquire them.

Sani said: “What we have been saying is that since the last banking industry consolidation exercise, it has become glaring that the North does not have a bank it can call its own. The only two ways of redressing this are either by raising your own N25 billion bank to start a bank or buying shares in any existing bank.

“The issue of concern in the North is all about mobilization of capital to start and develop businesses. Because of peculiar collective needs, we have to begin processes that will bring about investment in businesses,” Sani told The Nation on telephone last Friday.

The Nation gathered that some former state governors, including Alhaji Saidu Barda, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), Col. J.I.P. Ubah (rtd) and others such as Brigadier-General M.A. Umar, Justice Yoonus Abdullahi, Alhaji Mohammed Kumo, Lt-Genenaral Jeremiah Useni (rtd), Alhaji Dauda Birma, Brigadier –General Abba Kyari (rtd), Lt-Gen. Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi, Maj. General Muhammadu Shuwa were among those at the meeting.

Sani explained that the body’s NWC deliberately decided not to issue any communiqué or disseminate discussions which took place at its September 30 meeting. He asserted that the meeting was more of a review and continuation of previous discussions on economic development issues.

According to Sani, ACF has no need to exploit access to any influential government officials to facilitate its agenda for increased participation of northerners in their country’s banking industry.

Our correspondent gathered that the ACF also did an analysis of the nature, effect and prospects of the dying textile industry in the northern states, especially in view of the N70 billion Textile Development Fund which the ACF leadership sees as a mirage that is not likely to become actualized by the Federal Government.

Another major issue discussed was the anxiety being generated by evolving patterns of kidnapping which the North had never experienced before.

The sources further disclosed that a special paper presented at the September 30 meeting by one Hajia Fati Ibrahim gave ACF NWC members a comprehensive analysis of how inadequate financing options, outdated equipment, erratic power supply, lax regulations and other problems have ensured worsening unemployment and economic impoverishment across northern states.

“Some members expressed the view that the Presidency can do more towards discouraging smuggling.” A source stated.

Following discussions on how utilization of the N200 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme can boost development in various states, ACF’s NWC resolved to present a position paper on the issue to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sayyadi Abba Ruma.

They further discussed other issues including the need for northern states’ governors to encourage micro finance banks along with the incessant violent conflicts and security threat caused by migration and desert encroachment in the largely arid North.