Ibrahim-Magu

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says a number of Nigerian banks are on the brink of collapse due to huge debts owed by “unscrupulous customers”.

Magu spoke on Thursday at an interactive session with the Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria.

In a statement released by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, Magu said the chief compliance officers of various banks should provide the commission with information on customers who perpetrate financial crimes.

“We must work together to save this country. Most of the banks are sitting on the water. In fact, some of these banks are almost collapsing,” the statement quoted Magu to have said.

“I know there are questions you can’t ask, particularly if it involves some individuals, but if you give us information on such people, we will move in. If there are fundamental issues that can affect your banks, you can give us the information, especially as another election season approaches.

“I don’t want to be charging banks alongside suspected criminals because doing so can wreak havoc on the economy. It will even discourage investors from coming to the country.”

Speaking further, the EFCC boss said regardless of size, any bank could become “distressed” if they do not stand for transparency, accountability and practice diligence.

“There must be due diligence, even in this practice of private banking. There must be accountability; there must be transparency in our transactions. You don’t have to wait until anything goes awry before you begin to find a solution to it,” Magu continued.

“We are ready to assist the banks in recovering their debts, but compliance officers must ensure due diligence, especially when giving out loans to customers.

“Every bank is capable of going distressed, no matter its size. That is why we are battling to see that you stay afloat.”

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