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Naira crisis: Reps to reconvene before elections, says Gbajabiamila

Naira crisis: Reps to reconvene before elections, says Gbajabiamila

Oluwanifemi Ojo

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said members of the House would still need to meet if the Central Bank of Nigeria has not resolved the hardship faced by Nigerians over the naira redesign.

The reconvening is proposed to be held before the presidential elections slated to hold February 25.

According to the Speaker, the House of Representatives would continue to watch CBN as they implement the policy after the meeting of the Green Chamber with the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele.

The Punch reported that this was made known by Gbajabiamila at a town hall meeting as disclosed in a statement released by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi.

Recall that Gbajabiamila had threatened to arrest Emefiele and CEOs of commercial banks if they refused to appear before the ad hoc committee initiated to resolve issues with the new note scarcity.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele finally appeared before the committee on Tuesday January 31.

While addressing the Ad Hoc committee comprising members of the House, Emefiele said the actions of the CBN were aligned with international policies that it had to be in control of the money in circulation.

The Punch reported that Emefiele had partly said, “Subject to the content of the CBN Act, Section 20(3), which says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status; that we are mandated to collect those monies, I stand with the House of Representatives on this.
“What does that mean? It could have lost its legal tender status, in which case we have moved on, but you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank.

“We certainly will give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN; you will redeem it, either you pay into your bank account or you want to do (an) exchange, you will not lose your money.

“That is the assurance I want to give to Nigerians. I want to appeal: this is not an easy exercise but we are happy that in 19 years we are able to carry out this important aspect of our mandate.”

As the speaker recalled the refusal of the CBN Governor to appear before the committee, he said, “The House of Representatives intervened on several occasions. We summoned the CBN governor the first time and again, but he refused to answer because we had many hard questions for him.

He said the CBN Governor only responded because of the threat to issue an arrest.
In his words “It was until I issued the threat of a warrant of arrest that he came. And I would have signed that warrant; it would’ve been the first time in the history of the National Assembly that a CBN governor would be arrested. I would’ve done it.”

He added that the CBN was not against the law.

According to the speaker, “That does not make CBN above the law. The Constitution gives the House the power to issue an arrest warrant against anyone; we can summon anybody and that was exactly what the House was going to do until the CBN governor came.”

He added after the meeting that “ we are watching, and we are monitoring very closely. If need be, we will reconvene the House. Even though we have all been away for our elections. I will call the House back if need be.”

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