Court dismisses case against CBN’s directives on bank charges

The Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State Capital, has dismissed a suit instituted by a legal practitioner, Olumide Babalola, challenging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on current account maintenance fee contained in the guide to the charges by banks and other financial institutions of January 2020.

Babalola had instituted the action in the name of his law firm, Babalola LP, in which he contended that the policy and guidelines of the CBN violated his fundamental human rights.

The CBN, through its Counsel,   Adeleke   Agbola  of Cheakley Chambers challenged the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked the legal capacity to institute the suit on a policy that affects the public.

In his notice of preliminary objection to the suit, Agbola had contended that the plaintiff failed to show that  the CBN acted in bad  faith or breached any law by issuing the guidelines.

The trial judge, Justice   Shittu  Abubakar, after a careful   analysis   of   the   case,  dismissed the suit in its entirety for lacking in merit and upheld the preliminary objection.

The Court held that guidelines issued by the CBN, authorizing deduction of current account maintenance charges was lawful and within the statutory powers of CBN.

The Court also concurred with the argument canvassed by the CBN counsel that the plaintiff has not shown that the CBN breached any known law by issuing the guidelines.

Justice Abubakar also held that the plaintiff/applicant ought to have negotiated with his bank, Access Bank Plc for a reduction of his charges instead of dragging the CBN to Court.

The new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regime of banking charges against customers for services rendered took effect January 1, 2020.

 

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