New Naira Notes: Reps threaten Emefiele with arrest warrant
As a result of their collective refusal to accept an invitation from the green chamber due to a shortage of three newly designed naira notes, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and some bank directors have been threatened with arrest warrants by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
In order to discuss the expiration date of January 31, 2023 for the use of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, the House had summoned the CBN governor and bank directors. However, the bank directors ignored the invitation from the green chamber.
In a statement on Thursday, Gbajabiamila claimed that the bank executives had insulted the power and privileges of the people’s parliament by declining the House’s invitation. He declared, “This is unacceptable.”
Even though the Speaker did not specifically mention Emefiele in his remarks on Thursday, the House had summoned the CBN governor on multiple occasions over the past two months over the redesign of the naira, but the invitation was not accepted.
The House had called Emefiele and the bank executives to explain why the redesigned naira notes were still not being distributed properly before their expiration on January 31, 2023.
To further investigate the issue, the House established an ad hoc committee under the direction of Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the majority leader in the chamber.
Gbajabiamila said, “The Resolution of the House was predicated on information showing that the rollout of the redesigned naira notes has been an unmitigated failure. This failure has real and dire consequences on the ability of Nigerians to conduct business across the country.
“The refusal by the CBN to heed the invitation by the House of Representatives is evidence of a blatant disregard for the well-being of the Nigerian people who are their customers. It is also an insult to the authority and prerogatives of the people’s parliament.
“Therefore, I will, pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 89 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 19 (2)(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, not hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force to compel the attendance of the CBN or Managing Directors who fail, refuse or neglect to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives.”
He noted that the House recognised the CBN authority to determine the country’s legal tender and to recall currency with reasonable notice, subject to the approval of the President.
“The House is also aware that Section 20 (3) Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act mandates the CBN to redeem the face value of the recalled currency upon demand, even after the expiration of the notice of recall.
“Notwithstanding the deadline imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), this House will see to it that this provision of the law is honoured in full.”
The CBN revealed its intention to redesign the three banknotes on October 26, 2022. On November 23, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari revealed the revised N200, N500, and N1,000 notes; the apex bank set a deadline for the old notes’ validity of January 31.
Additionally, the CBN set weekly cash withdrawal caps of N500,000 for private persons and N5,000,000 for corporate businesses.