The registered trustees of the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, of four out of the eight ailing banks, on Thursday, asked a federal high court sitting in Abuja to stop the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, from selling the banks.

The plaintiff, through its counsel, Nnodu Okeke, was praying the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, servants, agents or privies from selling, disposing of, and inviting bidders to buy any of the banks, pending the determination of the suit.

The CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi, had, earlier in the week, disclosed that eight banks, which were bailed out with N620 billion by the apex bank last year, would be handed over to new owners by the end of the month.

The CBN governor, who was reported to have said this during an interview on CNBC Africa TV, on Monday, noted that the apex bank had received bids for the affected banks from two foreign institutions and several local banks.

The banks include Oceanic Bank International; Intercontinental Bank Plc; Afribank Plc and Union Bank Plc.
Others are FinBank; Bank PHB; Spring Bank and Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB).

Okeke said the CBN must disclose the relevant laws that gave it the powers to sell the banks, adding that his organisation was in court to seek interpretations, based on the relevant provisions in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) and Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

The shareholders were also praying the court to restrain the respondents from making statement or pronouncements capable of prejudicing the subject of the suit, pending its determination.

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