Under The Yoke Of Bad Debts…Firstbank Boss, Adesola Adeduntan, Guns For Billionaire Debtors

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Under The Yoke Of Bad Debts…Firstbank Boss, Adesola Adeduntan, Guns For Billionaire Debtors

Under The Yoke Of Bad Debts…Firstbank Boss, Adesola Adeduntan, Guns For Billionaire Debtors
October 22
06:18 2018

By Según Oderinde

Away from its posturing as Nigeria’s oldest surviving bank, the situation of First Bank of Nigeria Plc now is akin to a drowning man clutching unto any and everything in sight to survive.

A recent report puts the bank at the top of the ladder of Nigerian banks with bad debts profile in absolute terms estimated at billions of naira. Interestingly, the bank has dragged Lister Flour Mills Nigeria Limited, owned by deceased Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Arisekola Alao, to court for defaulting on its N8.85billion loan.

The refusal of the company to service the debt made the bank go to court, stating that the funds packaged as facilities to Lister Flour Mills Company are third party depositors/stakeholders funds, and failure to liquidate the indebtedness is adversely affecting the bank’s business operation with a potentially more devastating multiplier effect on the economy of the country.

There are many more of such loans, running into billions, which are in the hands of otherwise well-heeled, long-standing customers that cannot be stampeded into repaying or threatened with a lawsuit.

To worsen the bank’s increasingly deplorable situation, a Federal High Court in Lagos recently convicted Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, managing director, and the bank’s chairman, Ibukun Awosika, for contempt and refusal to obey the order of the court, which had ordered them to pay an Ogoni community in Rivers State the sum of N122 billion bond guaranteed by the bank on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC).

The N122 billion bond is in respect of the judgment debt against the SPDC in an oil spill suit instituted by Ejama community in Ogoniland, Rivers State. The case was first instituted in 1991 at the Rivers State High Court, Nchia Division, by six indigenes of Ogoniland against the Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, United Kingdom, and SPDC over alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community.

Concerned that compelling First Bank to pay such money at a time it is quaking under the heavy yoke of bad debts, the Central Bank of Nigeria has waded in, contending that it could have far-reaching consequences for Nigeria’s oldest and biggest lender by assets and deposits, and a systemic impact on the rest of the financial system and wider economy.

However, anger could be an effective negotiating tool. It becomes the sinew to Adesola’s soul. The Managing Director (MD) of First Bank is very angry right now. And the tumult of his rage commands the fear and propriety of many a billionaire; FirstBank’s billionaire debtors to be precise.

In pursuit of debts owed his bank, Adesola painstakingly evolves as the benevolent and indulgent bank chief who angers slowly but rage undammed. He is ready to deal with billionaires owing his bank outrageous loans thus he has deployed desperate measures to reclaim the loans before they turn into bad debts and thereby put his bank and his job in precarious state.

It takes a heart of steel and keen will to reclaim loans from Nigeria’s chronic debtors and Adesola is undoubtedly up to the task. With unapologetic sternness, character and wisdom, he is rapidly taming errant debtors and stalwarts of the billionaires’ club.

Adesola understands their weakness for money. He knows why its lure often makes, common whore and spendthrift of many a puffed up billionaire. Thus whenever they flounder and default with huge debts they owe, Hurricane Adesola is up to the task.

This minute, he is gunning for the next billionaire debtor and loan defaulter, as the hunter entraps stray bison in the wild.

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