The Worrisome Development of Sensational Social Media “Journalism” and the Affect On Professional Enterprise Issues: Current Travails of FCMB, GTBank and First Financial institution

The Worrisome Trend of Sensational Social Media “Journalism” and the Impact On Legitimate Business Concerns: Recent Travails of FCMB, GTBank and First Bank

On June 25, 2018 I woke as much as one more social media pattern – a information story with the daring and fairly salacious headline “How Secure Are Buyer Deposits At FCMB?” had taken over the digital airwaves. Between the shares and likes and feedback, a storm in a cup had brewed to nice proportions in a matter of hours. But once more, an illustration that the fundamental ethics of accountable journalism and moral reporting have been thrown away in enterprise and, certainly, on a regular basis life.

In writing the article, the writer had made detailed reference to alleged circumstances of fraud involving workers of FCMB and went forward to suggest that maybe the financial institution’s depositors funds are unsafe.

It’s fairly of nice concern to see so-called professionals go to city with such alarming headlines, with the complete data that almost all Nigerians won’t trouble to learn the precise particulars. It’s certainly of larger concern that this form of materials was launched in the way in which it was, when by his personal admission, the writer had obtained particular info from the financial institution about its monetary efficiency and skill to stay a development pushed and existentially sustainable establishment.

I would not have an account with FCMB, neither am I in any means related to the financial institution or its principals. I, nonetheless, do have the easy capability to learn between the traces and take away chaff from substance.

Within the first place, for FCMB to have elevated its shares in Legacy Pension to make it a full-fledged subsidiary as reported on this article, it means the financial institution is forward-thinking and targeted on each diversifying and bettering its service choices and earnings. That’s a daring transfer, when you think about that the Pensions business in Nigeria has the potential to be larger than the banking business in one other decade or so.

However much more attention-grabbing is the truth that by his very personal article, the writer admitted that FCMB’s deposits grew to N689.9billion as on the finish of December 2017, a rise of 5%, from N657.6billion within the corresponding 12 months. Do clients improve their deposit in a financial institution they’ve fears over or which is on the brink? Is it not solely logical that clients are solely prone to improve deposits in a financial institution the place they get pleasure from good service and really feel at house? For a truth, I do know that the KPMG Banking Trade Buyer Satisfaction Survey 2017 positioned FCMB in fifth place in the complete Nigerian banking business in Retail Banking, SME Banking and Wholesale Banking. That’s no imply feat if you have in mind the variety of operators within the business.

I feel what stumped me probably the most is the truth that by his personal article, the writer allow us to in on key monetary metrics of FCMB, together with the truth that FCMB reported a gross income of N169.9 billion and a revenue earlier than tax (PBT) of N11.5billion, whereas revenue after tax (PAT) was N9.4billion.

At face worth, it appears to me that the writer for causes greatest recognized to her or him was decided to demarket FCMB and painting it in probably the most adverse gentle attainable. I don’t dispute the likelihood that there have been some fraudulent actions – afterall, there isn’t a smoke with out hearth and that tends to ring by extra in Nigeria than elsewhere. Nevertheless, that is an business problem – the Managing Director of the Nigerian Inter-Financial institution Settlement System (NIBSS) Adebisi Shonubi (who just a few weeks in the past was nominated a Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Financial institution) lately shared some startling statistics on fraud in Nigeria’s banking business, revealing the variety of reported fraud circumstances in Nigerian Banks had steadily risen from 1,461 in 2014 to 10,743 in 2015, 19,531 in 2016 and 25,043 in 2017. It has been argued that frauds within the Banks should not alien. In the US of America it has been stated, with compromised bank cards and knowledge breaches typically within the information prior to now couple of years, fraud is high of thoughts with many individuals.

This deliberate try to demarket FCMB for causes greatest recognized to the writer additionally brings to thoughts the newest assault on GTBank over the Innoson case.

It’s not to be forgotten how earlier this month, social media went agog with information {that a} court docket had directed GTBank to pay 12 billion naira to Innoson Group, certainly one of its purchasers with whom it has had a long-standing court docket battle. The deceptive studies on social media had extraordinarily sensational headlines similar to “Courtroom Orders GTBank To Pay 14bn To Innoson”; “GTBank Should Pay Innoson 14Bn Inside 14 Days”; “GTBank In Hassle As Courtroom Orders Cost of 14bn to Innoson”.

It was such a horrible jamboree on social media that there have been sure broadcasts despatched throughout Whatsapp and different social media asking folks to withdraw their funds from GTBank instantly, on the premise that the financial institution would go bankrupt after cost of N14bn to Innoson. In fact, Nigerians won’t pause to ask whether or not paying N14bn in settlement can truly cripple a financial institution that’s extensively thought of Nigeria’s largest financial institution model and clearly, probably the most strong monetary behemoths inside the African continent. No person stops to ponder. The truth that this newest melee was a results of seemingly deliberate makes an attempt to smear the GTBank model raises extra suspicion in regards to the current publication on the identical on-line platforms questioning the security of depositors funds with FCMB.

The GTBank vs Innoson saga has so terribly deteriorated on the account of sensational journalism and reportage, that it has taken an unsightly ethnic dimension amongst the unlearned. Thus, on numerous on-line communities and platforms in Nigeria, you see Nigerians taking sides on the premise of GTBank being a “Yoruba firm” and Innoson being an “Igbo firm”. What a tragic actuality for a nation!

First Financial institution of Nigeria additionally witnessed the cruel and cruel chew of sensational reporting when lately there was commotion over the contempt judgement in opposition to the Financial institution and a few of its key officers within the case Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara & 9 Ors. v. Shell Petroleum Improvement Ltd, Shell Worldwide Petroleum Ltd and Shell Worldwide Exploration and Manufacturing BV. Earlier than truth might be faraway from fiction, so many broadcasts and “breaking information” articles had surfaced on-line, all main with headlines that have been designed to wreck and never simply state the info.

To make progress as a rustic and assist companies to thrive, this method have to be arrested. Should we sensationalize all the things simply so we will earn readership and our 5 minutes of fame, to the detriment of companies and corporations that present livelihood for hundreds of households throughout Nigeria? I feel not.

Even the place we have to tackle actual issues arising, absolutely, the reporting could be extra facts-based and fewer about blackmail and demarketing. As my Yoruba buddies have a saying of their language “Even when they despatched you on the errand as a slave, ship the message as a free born”. Crying wolf falsely too many instances has severe downsides. Social media credibility is extraordinarily necessary for the dissemination of related, topical, updated and genuine info. Utilizing it consistently as a automobile to settle scores, blackmail and look for consideration will in the end hurt the fame of not solely the charlatans in that discipline but in addition the true professionals. The pretend information toga will probably be solid on all. That will probably be a giant disgrace. Freedom presupposes accountability. Freedom devoid of accountability is extreme liberty.

These establishments want safety and we actually must cease portraying ourselves to the remainder of the world as folks at all times considering of fraud and sleight of hand methods to make ill-gotten wealth. There are various trustworthy and hardworking folks throughout Nigeria. We deserve higher than these fixed sensational however pretend so referred to as ‘investigative’ write ups.

Emefulenwanne Ibeayoka is a public analyst writing from Abuja

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