On June 25, 2018 I woke as much as one more social media development – a information story with the daring and fairly salacious headline “How Safe Are Customer 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 indication 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 creator had made detailed reference to alleged circumstances of fraud involving employees of FCMB and went forward to indicate 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 the majority Nigerians won’t trouble to learn the precise particulars. It’s certainly of higher concern that this form of materials was launched in the best way it was, when by his personal admission, the creator had acquired particular data from the financial institution about its monetary efficiency and talent to stay a development pushed and existentially sustainable establishment.

I don’t have an account with FCMB, neither am I in any means linked to the financial institution or its principals. I, nonetheless, do have the straightforward 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 trade in Nigeria has the potential to be larger than the banking trade in one other decade or so.

However much more fascinating is the truth that by his very personal article, the creator 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 prospects improve their deposit in a financial institution they’ve fears over or which is on the brink? Is it not solely logical that prospects are solely more likely 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 all the Nigerian banking trade in Retail Banking, SME Banking and Wholesale Banking. That’s no imply feat if you take into consideration the variety of operators within the trade.

I believe what stumped me probably the most is the truth that by his personal article, the creator 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 creator for causes finest identified to her or him was decided to demarket FCMB and painting it in probably the most unfavorable mild attainable. I don’t dispute the likelihood that there have been some fraudulent actions – afterall, there is no such thing as a smoke with out hearth and that tends to ring by means of extra in Nigeria than elsewhere. Nonetheless, that is an trade problem – the Managing Director of the Nigerian Inter-Financial institution Settlement System (NIBSS) Adebisi Shonubi (who a couple of weeks in the past was nominated a Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Financial institution) just lately shared some startling statistics on fraud in Nigeria’s banking trade, 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 usually are not alien. In the USA of America it has been stated, with compromised bank cards and knowledge breaches typically within the information previously couple of years, fraud is prime of thoughts with many individuals.

This deliberate try and demarket FCMB for causes finest identified to the creator additionally brings to thoughts the newest assault on GTBank over the Innoson case.

It isn’t to be forgotten how earlier this month, social media went agog with information {that a} courtroom had directed GTBank to pay 12 billion naira to Innoson Group, one in every of its purchasers with whom it has had a long-standing courtroom battle. The deceptive studies on social media had extraordinarily sensational headlines comparable to “Court Orders GTBank To Pay 14bn To Innoson”; “GTBank Must Pay Innoson 14Bn Within 14 Days”; “GTBank In Trouble As Court Orders Payment 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 individuals to withdraw their funds from GTBank instantly, on the premise that the financial institution would go bankrupt after fee of N14bn to Innoson. After all, Nigerians won’t pause to ask whether or not paying N14bn in settlement can truly cripple a financial institution that’s extensively thought-about Nigeria’s greatest financial institution model and clearly, some of the stable 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 latest 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 varied on-line communities and platforms in Nigeria, you see Nigerians taking sides on the premise of GTBank being a “Yoruba company” and Innoson being an “Igbo company”. What a tragic actuality for a nation!

First Financial institution of Nigeria additionally witnessed the cruel and cruel chew of sensational reporting when just 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 news” articles had surfaced on-line, all main with headlines that had been designed to wreck and never simply state the details.

To make progress as a rustic and assist companies to thrive, this strategy should be arrested. Should we sensationalize every little thing simply so we are able to earn readership and our 5 minutes of fame, to the detriment of companies and firms that present livelihood for hundreds of households throughout Nigeria? I believe not.

Even the place we have to deal with actual issues arising, absolutely, the reporting may be extra facts-based and fewer about blackmail and demarketing. As my Yoruba pals have a saying of their language “Even if they sent you on the errand as a slave, deliver the message as a free born”. Crying wolf falsely too many occasions has severe downsides. Social media credibility is extraordinarily vital for the dissemination of related, topical, updated and genuine data. Utilizing it continually as a car to settle scores, blackmail and look for consideration will finally hurt the status of not solely the charlatans in that discipline but in addition the actual professionals. The pretend information toga shall be forged on all. That shall be a giant disgrace. Freedom presupposes duty. Freedom devoid of duty is extreme liberty.

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

Emefulenwanne Ibeayoka is a public analyst writing from Abuja