Emefiele arrested in Lagos as DSS commences probe …. NBA commends Tinubu over suspension of CBN Governor


BDCs ask new CBN Governor to reconsider restrictions on operators

NBA commends Tinubu over suspension of CBN Governor

Labour Party faults removal of apex bank chief

The suspended Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), Mr.Godwin Emefiele, spent his first night in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja yesterday following his arrest in Lagos earlier in the day and subsequent transfer to Abuja.

He was sent on suspension on Friday on the order of President Bola Tinubu on account of “ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.”

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday expressed support for the CBN governor’s suspension and called for a thorough investigation of his “alleged role in the mismanagement of the economy.”

The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) pleaded with the CBN Acting Governor, Folashodun Shonubi, to reconsider restrictions on Bureaux De Change (BDCs) operations and open up the FOREX space for more dollar inflow.

Confirmation of Emefiele’s arrest came from the DSS a few hours after it said on its Twitter handle that “Currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS.”

In its first reaction on Friday to reports about Emefiele’s arrest, the DSS had said: “Inundated. I may not be able to make any confirmations NOW, please.”

But in confirming Emefiele’s arrest yesterday, spokesman of the Service, Peter Afunanya, said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.

“The public, particularly the media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this.”

No further details were given about his arrest but it was gathered that he was arrested at his Ikoyi,Lagos residence yesterday morning by a team of security agents.

A video that went viral showed Emefiele getting down from what appeared to be a security van.

He wore a gray Kaftan with a  cap to match.About six men in suit and suspected to be security personnel surrounded him and led him into a plane.

NBA hails Tinubu over removal of Emefiele

Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Intetest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Ubani, welcomed Emefiele’s suspension but said government should go the whole hog by investigating what he called the Air Nigeria scam.

Briefing reporters ahead of the association’s annual conference scheduled for June 20 to 23 in Lagos, Ubani said Emefiele’s tenure should be “thoroughly investigated for his alleged role in the mismanagement of the economy.”

Ubani also drew the attention of the President to the controversy surrounding Air Nigeria.

His words:”Mr. President is being called upon to look into the scam of ‘Air Nigeria’ which the immediate past Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, perpetrated before his exit.

“If the assertion by the Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Dayo Olumide, during a Senate hearing that the aircraft said to be for Air Nigeria was merely a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airline to hoodwink Nigerians, we enjoin Mr. President to institute a high-powered panel of investigation to unearth this large-scale scam that has turned Nigeria into a laughing stock in the global aviation community.

“This matter is a litmus test for the new administration, especially if President Bola Tinubu wants to be seen as desirous of combating corruption in the polity”, Ubani emphasised.

The chairman NBA-SPIDEL urged the Tinubu administration to develop a strong zero tolerance policy towards corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

“The government must respect the rule of law and avoid executive lawlessness and impunity,” he said.

“These are acts that will bring his administration into collision course with the civil society and human rights community.

“If the government abides by the rule of law, respects human rights, ensures transparency and accountability as fundamental objectives of state policy, it should rest assured of tremendous goodwill from majority of the citizens of Nigeria.

“President Bola Tinubu has a choice to make. May God guide him to make the right choice.”

On the removal of fuel subsidy, Ubani said that though majority of Nigerians do not understand the huge scam that subsidy represents in the oil sector, the process and procedure for the removal was faulty.

He observed that this has occasioned severe consequences and taken a toll on the hapless citizens who are always the victims of such government policies that are not well thought out.

“We welcome efforts by the government amid consultations to birth palliatives aimed at alleviating the harshness of the sudden removal,” he said.

He however remarked that the issue of palliatives should have preceded the announcement of the removal of subsidy.

According to him, Nigerians are groaning in pains, especially with the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy.

“Salary increase for civil servants – whose population is infinitesimal compared to millions that are outside government employment – will not be enough to solve the present crisis,” he noted.

He therefore urged the President to put in place more drastic and well-thought-out economic packages to cushion the harsh effects of the new policy.

“Again, Mr. President must seek wisdom and the right kind of advice to navigate out of the present quagmire the country has found itself. I do not envy him at this time”, he said.

On the coming NBA-SPIDEL conference holding in Lagos, Ubani thanked the former Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) for being a Bar-man, and expressed appreciation for his assistance towards the success of the forthcoming annual Conference of the section of the law.

He also expressed appreciation to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, for his commitment to the success of the forthcoming conference.

BDCs ask new CBN Governor to reconsider restrictions on operators

In its own reaction, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) asked the CBN Acting Governor, Folashodun Shonubi, to reconsider restrictions on Bureaux De Change (BDCs) operations and open up the FOREX space for more dollar inflow.

Speaking on the change of guard at the CBN, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the BDCs sub-sector have in recent years gone through a lot of discriminatory, disdained  and inhibitive policies which fueled an inefficient informal market.

He said the domination of Diaspora remittances space by foreign companies has reduced dollar inflows into the economy and limited liquidity in the market.

Gwadabe said the CBN should break the monopoly of few foreign players in Diaspora remittances space and allow BDCs serve as exclusive pick up agents for Diaspora remittances in the industry.

He said this would help inject liquidity, confidence and a market clearance rate in the critical retail exchange market in particular and the entire FOREX market in general.

He said: “Godwin Emiefiele have both his weaknesses and strength which will be subject of public discourse as we wish him well in his future endeavors.

“In every change there is always an expectation of triggers of sentiments. I, however, foresee positive sentiments in exchange rates trajectory.”

According to Gwadabe, the naira volatility has continued to underpin the slow economic growth during Emefiele’s tenure at the apex bank with unintended illegal economic behaviors like rent seeking, currency substitution and unethical FOREX holding position.

Continuing, he said: “We also congratulate the Acting Governor on the new appointment. I have no doubt that he will perform giving his sterling qualities at the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) as Managing Director/CEO.”

Gwadabe said Shonubi should use his wealth of experience to usher in confidence in the foreign exchange market.

“And our advice to him is to reconsider working with BDCs as the most potent transmission mechanism of the apex bank mandate of exchange rate stability.

“Our suspension for straight two years in 2021 till date and the subsequent naira volatility and weaker position to other currencies have vindicated our most valuable roles of distribution and availability of liquidity in the critical retail exchange market,” he said.

He said the Acting CBN boss should review various proposals and collaborating with the BDCs to achieve the President’s objective of a true market clearance rate in achieving our local currency stability.

Osinbajo’s former aide says Emefiele inflicted colossal damage on economy

Also speaking yesterday on the Emefiele years at the CBN, Laolu Akande, former spokesperson for the immediate past Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, claimed Emefiele caused the economy colossal damage.

Akande also said the suspension and investigation of Emefiele was long overdue and should be supported by any Nigerian with integrity.

“It was about time the CBN Governor faced suspension and investigation. All people of goodwill and those who value integrity irrespective of political leanings would be thankful for this development,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Emefiele was given a long rope, but he failed to redeem himself. His shenanigans and the colossal damage he perpetrated at the CBN was to the utter detriment of the Nigerian people.

“This is not even about cashless policy, but apparent corruption especially in the dual exchange rate policy which never made sense. What a sigh of relief!”

LP faults suspension of Emefiele as CBN Governor

However, the Labour Party faulted the suspension of Emefiele as CBN Governor.

The party said the suspension was unconstitutional because the President did not seek the permission of the National Assembly.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, argued that the action was not in good taste and sounded punitive.

He said: “Drawing inspiration from what Femi Gbajabiamila, then Minority Leader, had said years ago over a similar situation when President Goodluck Jonathan sacked former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, wherein he questioned the powers of the President in sacking the CBN Governor.

“The opposition leader made it clear that the President lacks powers under the laws of the land to sack the CBN boss. One wonders what has changed between that time and now.

“Femi Gbajabiamila is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives and also holds the enviable portfolio as the Chief of Staff to President Tinubu.

“He had then argued that the law requires the President to seek the approval of two-thirds of the Senate to be able to sack the CBN Governor; reasons being essentially to enforce the doctrine of checks and balances and to avoid the abuse of powers of a capricious and arbitrary President, while at the same time guaranteeing the autonomy of the CBN.

“But under Gbajabiamila’s watch, Emefiele was fired in a most unconstitutional and vindictive manner.

“It is only in Nigeria that we find people that approbate and reprobate at the same time. People say one thing from one side of their mouth and another from the other side, especially when it favours them politically and otherwise.

“That explains why the country is in a shambles: no rule of law, no equity, no justice, and no fair play. People don’t follow standard rules and procedures. That is why every aspect of our lives, be it our economic, political and social lives, is challenged.

“Gbajabiamila, because he was in the opposition at that time, he saw everything wrong with President Jonathan sacking Sanusi. Today he is on the other side of the divide he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. This is what Nigerians will face in the APC government, where

perceived enemies are dealt with, perceived opposition parties and their members are dealt with, even when they are protected by the law.”

Emefiele’s trouble with the DSS blew into the open last December when the agency in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 filed in the Federal High Court Abuja accused him of various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, John Tsoho, however, refused to grant the DSS application for an order against Emefiele, citing an irregularity in the procedure adopted by the department in its application.

Details of the charges were not made available at the time.

But online newspaper, Premium Times, reported yesterday that the DSS, in court documents newly obtained on the matter, accused Emefiele of funding terrorism, unknown gunmen terrorising the South-east region, the IPOB and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The funds allegedly came from the resources he had raised for his failed presidential bid last year and funds diverted from government coffers.

The DSS said Emefiele “on several occasions in actions prejudicial to the security of the Nigerian state,” engaged in “criminal conspiracy to divert government resources into suspicious acts of terrorism financing”.

It said the actions of the CBN governor were “meant to subvert and sabotage” the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Emefiele’s handover note ready

The Nation gathered yesterday that Emefiele had prepared his handover note for his successor.

One of his close aides said the suspended CBN Governor was aware he would be relieved of his job soon.

The source said they suspected that Emefiele was on his way out “because of the documents he was asking for since Monday. We knew that something was going to happen.”

“We thought he was going to be called to the villa and informed of his suspension, instead of just issuing out a statement,” he aide said.

– The Nation


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