CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The absence of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was not known by many until he failed to appear before the House of Representatives which summoned him over some policies of the apex bank.

Lawmakers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly had summoned the CBN governor over the cash withdrawal limit and redesigning of the Naira.

The bank had redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 bills, and fixed 31 January as the deadline for the old notes to cease to be legal tender.

The CBN had on December 6, announced a new policy limiting over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities to N100, 000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.

Emefiele had failed to appear twice, drawing the ire of the legislators.

But in a letter, the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN, Edward Adamu, told the lawmakers that Emefiele was said to be ill and would not appear before them in person.

Before Emefiele’s trip abroad, there were reports that a Federal High Court in Abuja restrained the Department of State Services (DSS) from arresting him over alleged involvement in terrorism financing and economic crimes.

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Civil Society Organisations and activists had said those opposed to his policies wanted the CBN governor arrested for trumped up charges.

But the secret police, which neither denied nor confirmed the move to arrest Emefiele, simply said the service would not be distracted by those seeking to use propaganda to undermine its investigations.

The CBN governor has not been publicly seen in the country since he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, early December.

But on Thursday, there were contradictory reports on his whereabouts.

While TheCable, an online platform, said he would return next week, Premium Times, also a digital newspaper, said the CBN governor entered the country secretly and would be leaving soon apparently to evade arrest.

Citing sources, TheCable said Emefiele spent the first part of his leave in the US but he is currently in the UK.
“The leave ends on January 17 and he will be at his desk thereafter,” TheCable reported.
However, in its own report, Premium Times said Emefiele’s leave ended on January 11.
“His holidays finished yesterday so he has to report to work today,” Premium Times quoted its source to have said.

But both platforms were on the same page on Emefiele getting the backing of Buhari for his trip.

Daily Trust tried to reach Osita Nwasinobi, CBN spokesman, on the phone to get his reaction but he was not available as of the time of filing this report. (Daily Trust)