The Central Bank of of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has been issued a 72-hour ultimatum or be removed by President Muhammadu Buhari through the National Assembly.
The ultimatum was issued on Friday by over 30 civil society organizations following allegations of “terrorism financing and economic crimes” leveled against the CBN governor by Nigeria’s State Security Service.
The state service had sought permission to arrest and detain Emefiele to aid further investigation but was denied by a Federal High Court in Abuja on account of lack of sufficient evidence.
However, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), the Citizens Network Against Corruption and Terrorism Financing and over 27 civil society advocacy groups have called on Emefiele to humbly resign or risk being disgraced out of office.
The groups said should the CBN governor fail to step down, they would be forced to demand his sacking by the President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly.
“…if there is still a modicum of honour left in Mr. Emefiele, he should immediately resign and submit himself for security examination. We, therefore, offer the assistance of urging the CBN Governor – Mr. Godwin Emefiele – to immediately tender his resignation.
“And if he fails to do so within 72 hours, both President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly should invoke the relevant laws to remove him,” the group said in a statement jointly signed by their respectives.
It added, “Mr. Emefiele is an economic disaster who has messed up every interventionist programme of the Buhari administration, including the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the credit facilities supposedly extended to Farmers through the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
“For clarity, under his poor oversight the former Managing Director of the NIRSAL continued to stay in office over a 2018 allegation of corruption amounting to a princely sum of N5.6 billion. He was only removed from office last month after multiple protests and petitions to that effect.
“It is also under his direction, supervision and control that the worst Forex round tripping regime and scam in the history of Nigeria has been allegedly perpetuated. How then can such a man become an emergency saint and economic messiah simply because there is a credible question of National Security sabotage for him to answer?
“Yes, we must admit that there appear to be a coincidence between the maturity of the DSS investigation into his involvement in terrorism financing and the introduction of his military fashioned cashless policy (which was done without any consultation with critical stakeholders, including experts in the financial sector and the representatives of the Nigerian people).
“However, the DSS has never expressed, directly or indirectly, any disagreement with the legal and legitimate policies of the CBN. It is, therefore, unconscionable for anybody to infer that the DSS in doing its own constitutional duty is hunting Mr. Emefiele because of any policy. This is a mischief taken too far. Nigerians must not be deceived by it.
“Rather, Mr. Emefiele must be known for the economic disaster he has orchestrated. He must answer for the alleged crimes of treasonable proportion for which the DSS seeks his clarification of. It is a shame that a public officer of the standing of the CBN Governor wants everything to be politicized.
“Of course, we warned about this dangerous trend when he became partisan, openly aspiring for the Presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), before he was forced to withdraw. Is there any Nigerian who still genuinely believes that Mr. Godwin EMEFIELE is not a partisan politician? And so, should it surprise anybody that Mr. Emefiele knows that he has crimes to answer to, but is simply polluting the public space with his trademark politics, while hiding under the headship of an independent and ordinarily non-partisan institution like the CBN?”
According to the CSOs, the Central Bank of Nigeria needs “a total, systematic and systemic cleansing” to preserve its sanctity as such, “not only should Emefiele resign or be relieved of his duties as CBN Governor, his deputies and current Directors of CBN should be investigated and all those found culpable should be sacked. The whole institution is in a mess.”
They urged President Buhari to critically look into the allegations against and invoke his powers under the law to sack the CBN Governor in case he refuses to immediately resign.
“But importantly, we urge the DSS to be unwavering in carrying out its National Security duties. No amount of blackmail or intimidation must make it backtrack from the truest and deepest professionalism that its duties require. They have our support and that of other patriots. Nigeria must remain safe, no matter whose ox is gored.
“Let us even seize this moment to salute the DSS for remaining focused and firm in the face of this organized campaign to blackmail the Service. More campaigns are coming. But the DSS must remain strong as long as it is working with the security facts at its disposal.
“We demand of the Federal Government to activate international protocols under the INTERPOL and get Mr. Emefiele back to the country to answer to his alleged crimes. For too long has he presented fake front and agenda to the president. This must not be allowed to persist.
“There are salient questions Nigerians are asking Emefiele at this critical juncture to wit:
Are You A Terrorist? If You Are Not, Why Are You On The Run?
Notable Nigerians Have Been Quizzed By THE DSS. Why Are You Hiding From Scrutiny?
Can You Run The Central Bank Of Nigeria From Abroad?
Is Mr. Emefiele too big to be quizzed and detained?”
The statement was signed by Solomon Adodo, President and Convener of the NYCN; Okpanachi Jacob,
Convener, Civil Society Advocacy Groups for Accountability and Probity; and Balarabe Musa, National Coordinator, Citizens Network Against Corruption and Terrorism Financing.
Others are Suleiman Musa,
Executive Secretary, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative; Igwe Ude-umanta, Director-General, Nigerian Youth Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, Gbolahan Adeyemi, President, Association of Artisans and Informal Workers, Chukwudi Oluoha, Executive Director, Coalition for Transparency and Accountability; and Friday Onuh, President, Independent Security Monitoring and Assessment Team.
By Seun Adekunle