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Court strikes out suit against CBN’s directive on bank charges

Court strikes out suit against CBN’s directive on bank charges
February 10
12:06 2021

A federal high court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun state, has dismissed a suit challenging the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy on current account maintenance fee (CAMF) contained in the guide to the charges by banks and other financial institutions.

The guide, which became effective on January 1, 2020, provides that CAMF is applicable to current accounts only in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank.

It noted that CAMF is not applicable to savings accounts.

Olumide Babalola, a legal practitioner, 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.

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The apex bank, through Adeleke Agbola of Cheakley Chambers, its counsel, however, 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.

Shittu Abubakar, the judge, in a judgement delivered on Wednesday, February 3, held that guidelines issued by the CBN, authorising the deduction of current account maintenance charges was lawful and within the statutory powers of the apex bank.

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

The court upheld the preliminary objection by the CBN counsel that the plaintiff has not shown that the apex bank breached any known law by issuing the guideline.

Abubakar subsequently dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

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