by Zakariya Musa, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria
A Brethren Microfinance Bank Board of Directors was inaugurated by Joel S. Billi, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the EYN Headquarters, Kwarhi. The seven-person board is to be chaired by Eugenia L. Zoaka, and has Daniel Y. C. Mbaya as its secretary. Other members include Paul Mele Gadzama, Samuel Wiam, Sani Drmbi Zira, Rebecca S. Dali, and Joseph Yabwa.
The development followed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval to operate as the Brethren Microfinance Bank Limited: “We refer to your application dated July 27, 2017, on the above subject and write to convey the Central Bank of Nigeria approval for your company to operate a state Microfinance Bank in the name of BRETHREN MICROFINANCE BANK LIMITED.”
President Billi speaking to journalists said that jobless youth who have graduated from universities, colleges, and polytechnics are stranded, depending on parents and relatives, which is worrisome these days. Through this bank, EYN will give the church some financial strength and grant the youth scholarships, capital, and the like. He also ensured that the bank, like other commercial banks, will serve Christians, Muslims, and everyone who would want to partner with it.
“The door is open to all” he said.
In her acceptance address after inauguration, chairperson Mrs. Zoaka said, “We are going to work as a team, not to our own interest but to empower people. This is God’s Bank,” she said.
Chief Machar A. Zoaka, who served as chairman of the Technical Committee for five years of the hard work [to start the bank], stated that the bank “has enough capital to take off.” He iterated that most of the shareholders are members of the EYN church, and that the bank is a financial institution and is not going to serve just the church but to serve the entire public. It also is part of the church’s vision and also will contribute to the environment of empowerment especially in the northeast of Nigeria, and also nationwide.
The eight-man Technical Committee that picked up the “hard call” five years ago was dissolved, after commendations from well-wishers for its historic achievement in the life of the 95-year-old EYN denomination that largely depends on offerings.
Dignitaries at the occasion included former EYN presidents Bitrus Kwajihue and Filibus K. Gwama, current vice president Anthony A. Ndamsai, former vice presidents Mbode M. Ndirmbita, Samuel B. Shingu, and Jinatu L. Wamdeo, among others.
A National Standing Committee meeting with the Technical Committee, Board of Directors, and the Managing Director of the Brethren Microfinance Bank Ltd. was held at the EYN Conference Hall in Kwarhi on the eve of the inauguration.
-- Zakariya Musa is on the communications staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria.