Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Central Bank of Nigeria Ibadan Branch Goes Up In Flames; Shell JV Probed By National Assembly

A raging fire destroyed the administration offices of the Central Bank of Nigeria branch in the major city of Ibadan today, ThisDay Online is reporting.

The fire follows by just three days on attack on CBN Chairman Prof. Edward Saludo's on his father at the latter's compoundd that left the elderly man blinded in one eye and badly beaten.

Soludo said today that the first order of business after the fire would be to get service at the Ibadan branch restored.

The Kano branch of the bank also suffered a fire in May 2004.

Central Bank fires are not uncommon in countries where the level of corruption is high. Indonesia's central bank, for instance, suffered a devastating fire that destroyed many records of the Suharto era at the time Suharto's government was getting ousted by a pro-democracy movement.

In another news flash, ThisDay said the Nigerian Assembly has begun to probe alleged missing funds associated with a Royal Dutch Shell joint venture. An Assembly committee that oversees the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. says fund amounting to about $1.5 billion are unaccounted for in a three-tiered audit of the NNPC. Shell issued a statement saying the funds issue has been repeatedly examined. The funds in question were mostly oil royalties from the 1991-1996 period, when the regime of Gen. Sani Abacha was bleeding the country dry.

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