The Nigerian central bank dismisses the entire board of directors of the First Bank of Nigeria

A view shows the headquarters of the Nigerian Central Bank in Abuja, Nigeria, November 22, 2020. Photo from November 22, 2020. REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde

The Nigerian central bank sacked the entire board of directors of First Bank of Nigeria on Thursday and appointed new directors, the regulator said in a statement citing the “sweeping changes” of the previous board without alerting regulators.

The First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) did not respond to comments.

The bank was in “a grave financial position” when the regulator was included in its 2016 management “to maintain financial stability,” giving it authority over FBN’s operations, the central bank said.

The board of directors was dismissed on Thursday “in order to preserve the stability of the bank and to protect minority shareholders and depositors,” said the regulator.

“The measures taken are intended to strengthen the bank and position it as a giant in the banking industry,” it said.

The Nigerian central bank has the power to remove executives from banks and put them in place during the 2008/2009 global financial crisis when it fired nine CEOs at banks that were undercapitalized.

The regulator fired top executives at Skye Bank in 2016 for capital adequacy issues after giving three commercial banks time to recap in 2015 after failing to meet a minimum capital adequacy rate of 10%.

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