Innoson Motors Saga: Are Nigerian banks truly ethnic?

Nigeria’s famous industrialist Chief Innocent Chukwuma, who is popularly known by his company’s name, INNOSON, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 19 December, 2017 and the events has since sparked heated arguments on social media, part of which lies on ethnicism and tribalism in bank operations around the country.

Innoson was picked up at about 11am at his Savage Crescent , GRA Enugu residence, and EFCC said on its website that the arrest was necessitated by his refusal to honor invitation by the Commission after he allegedly jumped an administrative bail granted earlier.


The business tycoon is involved in an ongoing case with GTBank, which is currently under investigation by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s Lagos office.

According to EFCC, the accused person refused to honor their invitation but instead, mobilized six truck loads of thugs pretending to be staff of INNOSON company to hang around his residence. The touts manhandled EFCC operatives on their arrival to effect an arrest.

Reinforcement from the Enugu office of the Commission was later required to successfully effect the arrest, and Innocent is currently being grilled by a team of investigators.

On the recent face-off between #GTBank & Innoson Motors which has taken an ethnic coloration around Nigeria and beyond, George Ejere, a digital business strategist, said the legal battle now looks like a Yoruba vs Igbo tribal feud.

“I have read and heard in some quarters that Igbos are threatening to close their accounts with #GTBank if the Innoson issue is not quickly resolved,” Ejere wrote on LinkedIn.

“That left me perplexed to say the least. This has made me discover that there are actually some banks that are perceived to be owned and dominated by certain ethnic groups in Nigeria. So #GTBank, Wema Bank are ‘Yoruba’ banks while Fidelity & Diamond Banks are ‘Igbo’ banks and Unity Bank is a ‘Hausa’ bank due to the predominance of the respective ethnic groups in those banks.

“Sometime ago, I had posted about ethnicity and tribalism in the workplace and how it affects the business. My position was that it was bad for business,” he added.

“Classification of Nigerian banks according to ethnic grouping won’t auger well for the country in my opinion. It spells doom for our collective financial stability and well-being. We need to go beyond tribe & ethnicity if we are move forward and remain as a united nation. ONE LOVE NIGERIA!”

Images below show some products from Innoson Motors: