Federal High Court

A lawsuit brought by a lawyer, Olumide Babalola, questioning the Current Account Maintenance Fee Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) found in the January 2020 Guide to the Charges of Banks and Other Financial Institutions was dismissed by the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

Babalola had 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.

The CBN, through its counsel, Adeleke Agbola, of Cheakley Chambers, 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.

The trial judge, Justice M Shittu Abubakar, after careful analysis of the case, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and upheld the preliminary objection.

The court held that guidelines issued by the CBN, authorising deduction of Current Account maintenance charges was lawful and within the statutory powers of CBN.

The court also concurred with the argument canvassed by the CBN counsel that the plaintiff has not shown that the CBN breached any known law by issuing the guidelines.

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