Friday 28 December 2012

Sanusi redeemed N25m pledge to church – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria has debunked a claim that it had not redeemed its pledge of N25 million to the victims of last year’s bombing of a church in Madalla town, Niger state.
Blueprint had on Monday quoted the pastor of St Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Rev Fr. Isaac Achi, saying the church was yet to receive pledge made to it by the CBN governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, during his condolence visit to the church shortly after the Christmas day attack in which 46 were killed.
Achi had exclusively told our correspondent in an interview in Madalla: “The CBN governor, Sanusi, came into this premises and made the same pledge after he went to Kano and promised N100 million. He came into this premises and made a pledge of N25 million and that is what we have not seen. I spoke with the Bishop yesterday in the evening and he did not say a word to me about it. It means that at that hour of the evening, which was around 8:30pm, it means the money has not been redeemed. So that is where we are.”
Achi also constrasted Sanusi with the governors of Niger and Akwa Ibom states, Godswill Akpabio and Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu respectively, who, according to him, had redeemed the pledges they made to the church.
However, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Ugochukwu A. Okoroafor, responded in a statement yesterday thus: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to a headline story in the December 26, 2012 edition of the Blueprint newspaper, in which it was alleged that the bank was yet to redeem her pledge to the Madalla bomb blast victims.
“We wish to use this medium to state categorically, that the bank redeems all her pledges without delay, and this includes that made to the Madalla bomb blast victims.
“As it is the usual practice at the CBN, donations of this nature are made directly to the state government in which the incident occurred. The same process was followed to effect the donation to the Ikeja Cantonment bomb blast victims in Lagos in 2002 and to the victims of the Kano disturbance in 2012.
“Consequently, we made contact with the government of Niger state and following the details obtained, the pledge was redeemed immediately. This was done on March 6, 2012 through a direct electronic payment to the Niger state government in the sum of N25 million for onward disbursement to the beneficiaries”.
The statement added: “The CBN considers it quite disturbing that in view of the sensitive nature of the matter, no effort was made on the part of the media house to verify the story from the CBN, more so, when in facts there was no compelling reason to rush to print without cross-checking and balancing all sides of the story.”

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