26th January, 2023
By Femi Ogunshola
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said on Thursday that he will issue a warrant to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to compel the Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chief executives of banks to honour summons of the lawmakers over controversies trailing the introduction of new naira notes.
The House of Reps had on Jan. 24 summoned the bank chief executives and CBN Governor over the scarcity of the new naira notes.
This is sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Sanda Soli (APC-Katsina) at the plenary.
But the CBN, in a letter written to the House, said Emefiele was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to Dakar, Senegal, hence he would not be available to appear before the Alhssan Ado Dogwu, led ad hoc committee set up to interface that him and bank MDs over the issue.
However, Speaking at plenary in Abuja on Thursday, Gbajabiamila, was angry that the CBN Governor and bank MDs failed to honour summons of the House on scarcity of the new notes and the deadline for the old notes.
The Speaker, who noted that the CBN Governor is his friend, said he will not hesitate to issue a warrant for his arrest if he continue to shun invitations of the House of Reps.
“I have a constitutional responsibility to discharge for the people we represent,” the Speaker said as he noted that the refusal by the CBN and bank MDs to heed the invitation of the House was evidence in the blatant disregard to the people and an insult to the parliament.
“If at the end of today, there is further disregard, I will not hesitate to issue a warrant to the IGP to compel the arrest of CBN and MDs of banks.
“Apparently, it appears the Governor and his people will not be showing up today but I will still give them the benefit of the doubt, they have a few more hours to rethink and show up,” he said.
He told the committee to go into the committee room and await their arrival, adding that if they did not show up, the House would take the step it needed to take.
He said this was sequel to the House response to a motion of urgent public in importance in section 89, 1(d) of the constitution and Order 19, 2, 1 of the Standing Order of the House of Reps.
He said the House recognised the CBN’s authority to determined the country’s legal tender and to recall currency with reasonable notice subject to the approval of the president.
#“The House is also aware that section 20 sub section 3 of CBN Act mandates the CBN to redeem the face value of the recall currency upon demand even after the expiration of notice of recall.
He added that this was notwithstanding the deadline imposed by the CBN, adding that the House would see to it that the provision of the law was honoured in full.
Explaining further, Gbajabiamila said the law allowed the CBN to change the legal tender, adding that after the expiration date, such old naira notes would no longer be legal tender.
“But it says that even five, three and two months after, only old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank.
“That point needs to be made to the CBN and the public but it has not been made. It is a provision of law,” he said.
Buttressing his point further, Gbajabiamila said, “In 2009 and 2010, the then CBN Governor, Charles Soludo, introduced polyma notes and wanted to phased out 5, 10, 20 and 50 naira notes.
“There was public outcry because of the time, at the end of the day it was halted and he did what all known CBN all over the world did”.
He said Soludo introduced the polyma and allowed the old notes to continue until everything was moped up by the bank.