Naira note exchange: Gbajabiamila threatens to arrest Emefiele
If Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, does not appear before its committee on Thursday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stated that he is prepared to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Gbajabiamila stated that the MPs would meet again on Tuesday to take action against Emefiele and other bank executives who fail to appear, as opposed to the House adjourning plenary until February 28 as originally scheduled for the elections.
The Speaker stated that he would not hesitate to request the Inspector-General of Police to effect the CBN governor’s arrest and forceful presence before the House, noting that Emefiele is a friend of his.
The House had formed an ad hoc committee to look into the issue of the new naira being scarce at commercial banks (also known as deposit money banks), which had raised concerns about the CBN’s deadline of January 31 for the replacement of the old notes with the new ones.
Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the committee’s chairman, informed the House during Thursday’s plenary that the CBN leaders had not appeared before the committee on Wednesday. He mentioned that the committee has moved the meeting to Thursday at 1 PM.
Gbajabiamila did, however, also let the House know that the CBN had written to the Clerk to let them know that Emefiele wouldn’t be able to attend before the committee on Thursday.
The House would utilize its authority in accordance with Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution, according to the Speaker.
Gbajabiamila further mentioned that the CBN Act permits banks to accept an old naira note even after it has lost its legal tender status.
The House had contacted President Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) on Tuesday on the impending crisis brought on by the January 31 deadline.
The House had invited the banks to a meeting on Wednesday over the shortage of new naira notes in addition to urging the CBN to extend the window for exchanging the old notes with the newly redesigned ones by six months.
Under the direction of the Bankers’ Committee, the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of the banks were scheduled to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House that would be presided over by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
The House specifically decided that the banks should be asked to explain the purported CBN supply deficit, and then the MPs would examine the top bank’s leadership.
“Call on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the CBN’s insistence on the close deadline for the implementation of the cashless policy and currency swap,” the House says.
The MPs also urged the CBN to “examine the daily withdrawal limit and the charges therefrom” and to keep the cashless policy in effect for “at least six months.”
At the beginning of the plenary on Tuesday, a member of the House from Katsina State named Sara Soli moved a motion of urgent public significance that was unanimously adopted.
Both parties cited short notice as the reason why the CBN failed to appear before the committee on Wednesday.