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CBN restructuring: More heads to roll as number of affected staff hits 27

Daily Trust can reliably confirm that not less than 27 members of staff, most of them directors at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), were affected by the first batch of dismissals, even as more are set to be axed in the coming days.

Amongst those affected were eight directors, 10 deputy directors, five assistant directors, two principal managers and two senior managers.

Daily Trust yesterday broke the story of the mass sack which took effect last Friday, with seven directors served their letters the same day.

These directors, according to sources, were initially reassigned to FSS 2020, a division of the bank under the Governor’s Directorate located in the Maitama District of Abuja on November 24, 2023, and kept in a holding pattern for further directives.

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Samuel Chukwuyem Okojere, Abdulmumin Abdulsalam Isa, Dr Elizabeth Amos Kwaghe, Dr Maureen Omolola Chukwurah, and Mr Arinze Stanley were among the directors who were transferred to the FSS 2020 division on November 24 last year.

Findings also revealed that staff members who were implicated by the report of the special investigator, Jim Obazee on the withdrawal of $6.2 million from the Abuja branch of the CBN, may be in line for sack.

Recall that the special investigator tasked with probing the apex bank has returned with recommended charges for some senior officials of the past administration with the CBN saying they were linked to a brazen and relentless heist of public funds. 

However, while two of the directors whose services have been terminated have accepted their fate, the other five are planning to take legal action against the bank for what they consider as unlawful termination of their appointments.

The two directors who accepted their termination quietly are also facing a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) due to their implication in the Obazee report.

The termination letters sent to the directors and seen by our reporter cited “reorganizational and human capital restructuring” as the reason for their dismissal, in line with the bank’s new strategic direction.

The letters stated that their services would no longer be required with effect from Friday, 15th March 2024, and they were instructed to immediately hand over all bank properties in their possession to their department’s administrator.

Affected directors to contest decision

The five directors who are contesting their termination are reportedly upset as, according to them, no wrongdoing had been attributed to them, and they have not been implicated in any misconduct.

One of them, who spoke with our reporter said: “While we may have served during the tenure of the last CBN governor, we arrived at this position on merit; having fulfilled the conditions of the extant rules and cleared by the CBN board. We were not a unilateral creation of former governor Emefiele.

“Directors implement decisions of the board, decisions of the committee of governors and other ancillary decisions. So, we are not Emefiele directors.”

Another affected director said: “Contrary to the claims, I have not worked with Emefiele, as I was appointed a director on the 19th of July 2023; during the transition period and after the redesign exercise.

“I have not attended any Committee of Governors meetings with the past management nor initiated any memo for the award of any form of contract. I was never called to question any irregularities in the bank.

“The management of the bank had not communicated any reason for my posting to FSS till date.”

How some directors escaped sacking

A senior management source told this paper that there were a lot more directors initially pencilled down for transfer to FSS but were reconsidered after interventions from high places, including the Presidency.

The source said: “A director who left to contest the 2023 election is back in the system.”

Daily Trust findings revealed that the current director of monetary policy, who was previously the director of the statistics department, Dr Mohammed Musa Tumala, was part of the 2023 general elections.

It was found that on May 2, 2022, Dr Tumala collected his Nomination Form at the All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretariat in Abuja to formally express his interest in the 2023 senatorial election in Borno State.

It would be recalled that Dr (Hon) Tumala had earlier been elected into the House of Representatives in 1992 and served until 1994 when the democratic regime was truncated by the military. Before then, he was a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri for 19 years.

Rule 030422 of the Public Service Rules (2008 edition) states: “No officer shall, without express permission of the government, whether on duty or leave of absence:

“(b) offer himself/herself or nominate anyone else as a candidate for any elective public office including membership of a Local Government Council, State or National Assembly.

“(c) indicate publicly his support of or opposition to any party, candidate or policy;

“(d) engage in canvassing in support of political candidates.

However, another source said the remaining 12 directors who are yet to receive their termination letters are aware of their impending dismissal.

Concerns mount over lack of exit package

Another source within the CBN expressed concern over the lack of an exit package for the terminated directors, especially considering their years of service and the absence of any charges or accusations against them

The source also highlighted the loss of over 200 years of institutional knowledge and expertise that would result from the dismissal of these experienced directors.

 

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