Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of the Representatives, is expected to publicly sign a warrant for the arrest of CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele. The expectation is during legislative plenary scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st, unless there is an intervention between tonight and tomorrow.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, who revealed this during an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune. He added that the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa had a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari during which he told the president about the resolution of the House of Reps, and the need for the CBN Governor to honour their invitation on the new cash withdrawal limit and cash swap policy.
He also disclosed that the CBN Governor had always kept the Parliament in the dark regarding CBN’s planned policies since he started work as CBN governor. Therefore, the House deems it necessary to compel him to brief the Parliament in line with Section 8 subsection 4 of the CBN Act.
Hon. Kalu said: “At the last sitting, there was a resolution by the House that the Speaker will sign warrant of arrest for the Inspector General of Police to compel the appearance of the CBN Governor if there’s no communication from CBN either directly by the CBN Governor or anybody designate to do that.
“As at close of work today, there is none of those communications, has been received. And since its ruling of the House, the speaker is bound to sign that warrant of arrest by tomorrow (Tuesday), unless there is any intervention between this night and tomorrow.
“The Leader of the House who’s the Chairman of this Ad-hoc Committee on change of naira notes, is also insisting that the extension by 10 days is not sufficient and has nothing to do with the the invitation. It is in line with the CBN Act that they should first comply with the invitation and convince the House on why they are amending the policy at this critical moment and why the House was not contacted this while.”
Regarding whether or not the CBN governor is compelled by law to honour the House’s invitation during Tuesday plenary, Hon. Kalu observed that the CBN Governor is expected to appear before the Ad-hoc Committee because the Committee is an extension of the House of Reps in session.
Some CBN staff members have retorted, saying that the apex bank is not answerable to the Parllament before implementing any of its policies.
Commenting on that stance, the House Spokesman said:
“No particular Institution of any arm of Government is empowered by the Establishment Act to be greater than the Parliament because its the Parliament that makes the law. And when you look at the CBN Act, Section 8 subsection 4, has it that the Parliament has to be briefed on major policies and it has to be done periodically.
“But since this CBN Governor has come into place, in the 9th Assembly he has never had periodic briefing on any of his activities. So. That is the position of the law.”
Hon. Kalu further stressed: “We can’t watch the situation as it is without invoking the provisions of the law and asking the respected Agency to comply with the law of the land.”
Earlier, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the policy, issued a statement rejecting the 10-day extension for returning the old Naira notes announced by the CBN. The Majority Leader in the statement, who argued that the 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution, alleged that the policy as being implemented, contravenes the provisions of the extant CBN Act.
“We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Adhoc committee.”
He said under his chairmanship, the Ad-hoc Committee wil continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Hon. Doguwa said Mr. Emefiele must appear before the House or risk being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed by the Hon. Speaker on Monday.
He also said the policy is capable of scuttling the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the States level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, when contacted on the whether the Speaker has signed the arrest warrant as the House Leader said, the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, explained that the Speaker has neither responded to his texts nor picked his calls.