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Court backs CBN’s current account maintenance fee charged by banks

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CBN to buy commercial papers from companies at single digit rates

The Federal High Court has backed the charges placed on current account maintenance by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN had issued a directive to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions to implement charge on current accounts last year January.

CBN had stated that current account maintenance fee (CAMF) be charged on customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers or lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank.

For every customer-induced debit, Nigerian banks and other financial institutions are expected to charge N1, but the charge is negotiable, according to the CBN statement seen by Ripples Nigeria.

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This directive was challenged by Olumide Babalola, founder of law firm, Babalola LP, who filed that the decision violated his fundamental human right.

However, Justice Shittu Abubakar of the FHC in Abeokuta, ruled on February 3, 2021, that the CBN directive didn’t contravene any law.

Abubakar in his ruling said the authorisation of the current account maintenance fee was within the statutory powers of CBN. The Justice back CBN’s counsel, Adeleke Agbola of Cheakley Chambers, who argued that Babalola lacked “the legal capacity to institute the suit on a policy that affects the public.” CBN was quoted by Punch.

While referencing the negotiation clause in the CBN directive, Abubakar said Babalola shouldn’t have filed a lawsuit against CBN, rather, he could have taken advantage of the clause to negotiate his deduction fee with his bank, Access Bank.

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