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Angst in CBN over plans to relocate key departments to Lagos

CBN

BY BARTH EZE

Palpable feeling of anger and dissatisfaction currently pervades the space at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following revelations of plans by the new management to relocate major departments from the Abuja headquarters to the former headquarters in Lagos.

The decision which is being spearheaded by CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, has reportedly unsettled top staff members, particularly married women, leading to discontent within the institution.

The targeted departments for relocation include Banking Supervision (DBS), Other Financial Institutions Supervision (OFISD), Consumer Protection Department (CPD), Payment System Management Department (PSMD), and Financial Policy Regulations Department (FPRD).

A substantial workforce of 1,533 employees is expected to be affected by this massive redeployment.

According to sources within the CBN, the move has potential consequences, considering the pivotal roles these departments play in the institution.

Some fear concentrating on the crucial functions in Lagos may weaken the significance of the Abuja headquarters.

The decision has also reportedly caused distress among married women employees, who are grappling with the prospect of being relocated away from their families. Some staff members are said to be contemplating resignation in response to the policy.

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A source said: “The affected departments are the major departments of the CBN. They are the only departments mentioned in the BOFIA Act [Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act].

“Moving them entirely will only further strengthen Lagos and weaken Abuja. When you move all these departments to Lagos, then what is left of the headquarters? It will become almost useless.

“Women colleagues that are married can’t cope with this decision, especially those from the North.”

The new management, led by Governor Cardoso, has faced allegations of creating a hostile work environment since assuming office.

Reports suggest that many staff members have resigned under the current management, citing an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

While an internal memo from the CBN cited the need for decongestion as a primary reason for the relocation, some insiders question the rationale behind the decision.

There are suspicions of a potential downsizing agenda and concerns that the move could elevate Lagos at the expense of Abuja.

The CBN memo stated that the decongestion initiative aims to optimize the operational environment, ensure compliance with building safety standards, and enhance the efficient utilization of office space. It cited safety concerns, reduced efficiency, and potential compromise of the building’s structural integrity due to overcrowding as driving factors behind the decision.

However, critics argue that the immediate-past governor, Godwin Emefiele, had already made provisions for an annex office and a multi-level car park to address overcrowding concerns at the head office building.

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