Victims of the defunct Savannah Bank have been assured that their funds which have been hanging for years, will be duly returned. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave this assurance at the 3rd biennial Bank Customers Summit.
Speaking at the summit, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by T.Y Ahmed, acting Director, Consumer Protection Department, said the apex bank is aware of the issues involved in the closure of the bank and a lot of attention.
“We will know what can be decided in the case of the bank”.
President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), Dr. Uju Ogubunka, had earlier in his welcome address, raised the issue of the hanging funds of customers of the defunct Savannah Bank. She said
“Some of us who were here last 2 years; we recall that we raised an issue about Savannah Bank that is still hanging in the balance. That bank is hosting large deposits of our members, for the past 17 years or more. Nobody seems to know what is happening to the resumption or otherwise liquidation of the bank, so that NDIC that is here represented can give our members who have accounts in that bank a little knowledge about the issue.
“As we all probably know, many of the people that hold accounts in Savannah Bank have died out of frustration and even their dependants are suffering.”
Savannah Bank is a Nigerian bank whose license was withdrawn in February 2002 and restored in February 2009 after protracted legal battles.
The then CBN Governor, Joseph Oladele Sanusi said the bank did not have enough assets to meet liabilities, did not comply with the apex bank obligations, and that the regulators had been unable to prevent further deterioration.
Following CBN’s withdrawal of Savannah Bank’s license, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) took over as liquidator, sealing the bank’s offices nationwide. At the time it was closed, the bank had 140 branches.
The bank’s owners fought the closure in court. Further appeals followed.
A reprieve came for the owners of the bank in October 2006, when an Abuja High Court declared CBN’s action as illegal.
CBN also failed at the Court of Appeal when the appellate court ordered the re-opening of Savannah Bank.
CBN and NDIC were ordered to pay N100 million to the bank as damages.