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Banking

How Lamido Sanusi cleaned up Nigeria’s banks

In August 2009 the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that he was removing the top management of five leading Nigerian banks as part of a bailout package. More bosses were subsequently thrown out. About 200 bankers and investors are now facing criminal investigations. Here for the first time, Sanusi explains to Nick Kochan why he intervened.

Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

"If they are interested in owning Nigerian banks, they are very welcome to look at them"

Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

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What was the background to your actions and plans for the banks? How do you deal with the claim that you have waged a vendetta against the banks?
Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
When I was appointed governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria [in March 2009] I found banks on the verge of distress, on the verge of a major crisis. Banks had been mismanaged. They had lost their capital betting on the stock market and on oil prices. We had to inject money as lender of last resort. As supervisors, we could not continue to allow people to manage institutions by running them into the ground. We found evidence of criminal activity that we handed over to law enforcement agents. Those matters are before the courts of law.

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