Currency Redesign: Emefiele faces backlash as Gbajabiamila threatens arrest

THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, if he fails to appear before the House committee investigating the scarcity of the redesigned naira notes across the country.

Most Nigerians have complained of the slow circulation of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes, with the deadline to the expiration of the old notes five days away, on January 31.


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Many Nigerians have also expressed worry that most commercial banks’ automated teller machines (ATM) are not dispensing the new notes as expected.

In a bid to resolve the seeming crisis, the lawmakers had set up a committee to investigate these claims and seek ways to resolve them.

On Wednesday, January 25, the committee invited Emefiele for him to explain issues around the scarcity, but he failed to appear before it.

Expressing his displeasure at the CBN governor for that failure, Gbajabiamila said he would not hesitate to ask the Inspector-General of Police to arrest him.

He said instead of the House adjourning plenary till February 28 for the elections as planned, the lawmakers would reconvene on Tuesday to take an action against Emefiele and other bank chiefs who failed to show up.

He informed the house that the CBN had written to the Clerk, informing the House of Emefiele’s failure to appear before the committee on Thursday, January 26. The Speaker said the House would exercise its powers as contained in Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution.

Gbajabiamila also noted that the CBN Act allows the admittance of an old naira note by banks, even after it had ceased to be legal tender.

The House, besides asking the CBN to extend the window for spending the old notes while the redesigned ones take firm circulation root, had also invited bank chiefs to a meeting on Wednesday, January 25 over scarcity of the new naira notes.

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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