The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has barred banks in the country from extending further credit to 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders, including those belonging to Mr. Femi Otedola, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, former Power Minister, Prof. Bart Nnaji, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and Dr. Wale Babalakin.
The CBN arrived at this decision as a result of the reluctance by the debtors to pay back their loans despite the purchase of the debts at an agreed price by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
In a new circular dated September 17, and obtained exclusively by THISDAY, the central bank stated that the restriction would apply to individuals, organisations, companies as well as principal shareholders and directors of companies where the outstanding value of loans purchased by AMCON amounted to N5 billion or above as at the day of purchase, without regard to the actual amount paid by AMCON.
The circular, which was signed by CBN’s Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs. A. O. Martins, stated that “it has become necessary to stop debtors who failed to repay their loans to banks and had these loans subsequently transferred to AMCON, from further enjoying credit facilities from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) until they fully repay agreed outstandings to AMCON.”
The circular, which was accompanied by a detailed list of the blacklisted debtors, showed that worst hit by the directive are Zenon Petroleum, owned by Otedola, which was indebted to banks to the tune of N192.4 billion; MRS Holdings Limited, which belongs to Dantata – N119.98 billion; Seawolf Limited – N98.32 billion; Arik Air Limited, belonging to Arumemi-Ikhide – N85.481 billion; NITEL Plc/M-Tel – N71.547 billion; and Capital Oil and Gas Limited, which belongs to Ifeanyi Ubah – N48.014 billion.
Others include Falcon Securities, whose Managing Director, Mr. Peter Ololo, was arraigned alongside several bank executives in 2009 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – N162.9 billion; Rockson Engineering Limited, owned by Arumemi-Ikhide – N60.475 billion; BGL Securities – N6.44 billion; Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas Limited – N46.38 billion; Bi-Courtney Limited – N20.214 billion; and Geometrics Engineering, owned by Nnaji – N19.76 billion.
The restriction also applies to: Aero Contractors Company, owned by the family of Olorogun Michael Ibru - N32.579 billion; Tinapa Business Resort – N18.509 billion; Nestoil Limited, belonging to oil and gas entrepreneur, Ernest Azudialu – N13.506 billion; Dorman Long Engineering – N9.667 billion; Ascott Offshore Nig. Ltd, belonging to former banker, Henry Imasekha and the Berkley Group – N64.728 billion; Gitto Constuzioni – N11.838 billion; and Dansa Foods – N14.880 billion, whose directors, Sani and Abdul Dangote, are the brothers of business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Commercial banks were also directed not to grant further credit to Cross River and Zamfara States because of the failure of the Tinapa Business Resort and Accountant General, Ministry of Finance, Zamfara to pay back loans collected respectively.