New Telegraph

New Banknotes: Reps threaten to arrest CBN Gov, bank CEOs

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday threatened to issue a warrant of arrest to Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and managing directors of deposit banks who fail or refuse to respond to the summons by the House. This is even as the leadership of the National Assembly, led by Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, are scheduled to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the adamant posture of the CBN governor to extend the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes.

Gbajabiamila informed about the impending meeting with the president after a heated debate on the floor where lawmakers expressed serious concern with the insistence of the CBN on the January 31 deadline. Gbajabiamila, who issued the notice after reading the letter sent by the CBN Deputy Governor (Corporate Services), Mr. Edward Adamu, who disclosed that Emefiele is on President’s Buhari’s delegation to Dakar, Senegal, differed with the CBN authorities on the deadline set for the phase-out of the old notes. While expressing displeasure over the impacts of the new cash policy on the economy and well-being of the citizens, Gbajabiamila said: “The House of Representatives, in response to a motion on a matter of urgent public importance, invited CBN and managing directors of banks in Nigeria to appear before the House of Representatives.

“They were invited to give reasons for the ongoing fail ure to adequately disburse the redesigned naira notes before the expiration of the deadline of 31st January 2023, when the old notes will cease to be legal tender. “The House further constituted an Ad-hoc Committee led by the Majority Leader, Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, for this purpose. No official of the CBN appeared to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives.

This is unacceptable. “The Resolution of the House was predicated on information showing that the rollout of the redesigned naira notes has been an unmitigated failure. “This failure has real and dire consequences on the ability of Nigerians to conduct business across the country. “The refusal by the CBN to heed the invitation by the House of Representatives is evidence of a blatant disregard for the well-being of the Nigerian people who are their customers.

It is also an insult to the authority and prerogatives of the people’s Parliament. “Therefore, I will, under the authority conferred by Section 89 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 19 (2)(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, not hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force to compel the attendance of the CBN governor or managing directors who fail, refuse or neglect to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives.

“The House of Representatives recognises the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) authority to determine 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 (3) Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act mandates the CBN to redeem the face value of the recalled currency upon demand, even after the expiration of the notice of recall. “Notwithstanding the deadline imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), this House will see to it that this provision of the law is honoured in full. “Now let me explain that again: the CBN Act, under Section 20, allows the Central Bank to change the legal tender. It also says that after the expiration date, such naira notes will no longer be legal tender, but it also says that even five months, three months, or two months after, even in June, all the old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank.”

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