The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has threatened to arrest the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, if he fails to appear before the House of Representatives’ committee investigating the scarcity of new naira at commercial banks.
Some Nigerians are concerned about the January 31 deadline for exchanging old Naira notes for newly redesigned ones. Many Nigerians claim that they have visited banks to deposit old notes but have been unable to obtain new notes.
In a bid to resolve the seeming crisis, the lawmakers had set up a committee to investigate these claims and seek ways to resolve them.
On Wednesday, January 25, Emefiele was invited for questionning but he failed to appear before the house.
Expressing his displeasure at the CBN governor for failing to appear before the committee, Gbajabiamila said he will not hesitate to ask the Inspector General of Police to arrest Emefiele. He said instead of the House adjourning plenary till February 28 for the elections as planned, the lawmakers would reconvene on Tuesday to take an action against Emefiele and other bank chiefs who fail to show up.
He informed the house that the CBN had written to the Clerk, informing the House of Emefiele’s inability to appear before the committee on Thursday, January 26. The Speaker said the House would exercise its powers as contained in Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution. Gbajabiamila also noted that the CBN Act allows the admittance of an old naira note by banks, even after it had ceased to be legal tender.
Apart from asking the CBN to extend the window for swapping the old notes with the newly redesigned one by six months, the House had invited the banks to a meeting on Wednesday over the scarcity of new naira notes.