First Bank Targets JAAC, Observers Plead For Caution

Perhaps to show that they are a step ahead in what has become a ritual for bank’s in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, targeted yesterday’s Joint Account and Allocation Committee , JAAC, meeting in Calabar, the CRS capital, for a lunch date, considered by many to be a Greek gift, for the 18 local government council chairmen in CRS attending the meeting.
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At the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel, calitown.com sources revealed that, “First Bank of Nigeria Plc, put together the lunch date, not to fete the chairmen for winning any election but to clearly goad the chairmen into obtaining facilities from the bank”. While this may be part of the bank’s marketing strategy, observers are quick to point out that, like always, this may be the beginning of another vicious circle that always ends up crippling the local government councils in the state.

Recall that in times past, most unsuspecting council chairmen have been tricked by bank officials who offer them facilities with outrageous interests hidden under. One former council chairman revealed to calitown.com that, “the same people who fall over themselves to organize all these lunch dates, do not have council’s interest at heart. Non of them commits bank funds to long-term articulate projects in the council area, they just give out short-term facilities, make huge profits and ground the councils. I just hope that these chairmen will not fall into this unholy web spun by these banks”. He went on to say that, “waivers will be boldly brandished and then when one commits himself, angles in the agreements that were initially invisible, will become visible and then, not too long after disagreements occur, the banks will obtain garnishee orders from the courts and cripple the council, it has happened in this state before, we should just pray it doesn’t happen again”.

But bank officials say “because we have an existing relationship with the councils, it is not out of place to have a lunch date where we can talk business and better understand how we can partner them to deliver on good governance”. Sources present at the lunch date informed that unfortunately for FBN, the timing of the date, a Monday afternoon after a prolonged JAAC session, may have worked against organizers as most chairmen were hurrying to get back to their administrative divisions.

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