Emefiele is being held for analytical purposes, according to DSS.

The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday, confirmed the arrest of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who is now in its custody.

There were reports, yesterday, that the apex bank’s governor was arrested by the DSS on Friday night, which the security agency denied. But in a statement issued around 2:18 pm, yesterday, by the secret police, they confirmed that Emefiele had been arrested and was with them.

“The DSS hereby confirms that Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in our custody for some investigative reasons.

“The public, particularly the media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this,” spokesman of DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said in the statement.

Meanwhile, some experts have advised that because of the failure of Emefiele, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should appoint a development economist as the next governor of the apex bank.

The professionals recommended that such an economist must have a strong experience in international development finance and macroeconomics, believing that an economist will focus on using qualitative and quantitative measurements to make decisions on monetary policy.

They also recommended that the CBN should adopt IFRS as its accounting model for returning accounts at the end of the financial year, even as they urged the Presidency to order a forensic audit of the CBN, especially on the N8 trillion development finance loans that were allegedly misappropriated.

As the 10th National Assembly takes charge on Tuesday, the Senate needs to order a probe of how Ways and Means was spent in alleged violation of section 38 of the CBN Act of 2007 and subsequently amend the CBN Act to align with modern realities.

The Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Hills Limited, Kelvin Emmanuel, noted that the fact that President Tinubu overlooked two most senior deputy governors in his decision to appoint an acting governor for the CBN is an indication that he does not trust them and all the other three deputy governors, while investigations are ongoing.

It was learnt that since 2018, the same time the CBN accelerated the use of Ways and Means to lend N15.3 trillion to the Federal Government and N8 trillion in direct intervention programs, the CBN has refused to publish annual audited financial statements in line with sections 50(1) of the CBN Act of 2007.

The impairment on loans for direct intervention programs is over 50 percent and the National Assembly failed in their oversight functions not only to request audited statements but also to probe the programs.

An economist, Bunmi Adeoyo, revealed that the naira redesign policy led to a drop of 1.23 percent in GDP within six months while companies in FMCG reported up to 50 percent wiping off of entire quarterly earnings.

Section 11(D) says the Governor of the Central Bank can be disqualified or suspended from practicing by an order of a competent authority made directly in respect of his person. Section 11(F) says the President can remove the Governor of the Central Bank from office given that it is supported by a two-thirds majority of the Senate or if he’s convicted of a crime or misconduct.

But two scholars in Ibadan have raised legal issues over Emefiele’s suspension.
They are a Law Professor at the Lead City University, Ibadan, Olu Ojedokun, and the Head of the Economics Department, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Dr. Francis Adeyemi. Ojedokun said only the two-thirds majority of the Senate could remove him while Adeyemi said due process must be followed in the matter.

“Many suggest that it’s a mere suspension, but does it not impact on the independence of the CBN, is the suspension akin to removal? It is clear that only the Senate can remove Emefiele with a 2/3rds majority so if the suspension is indefinite and not time defined, in my view, it will be contrary to the letter of the constitution,” Ojedokun argued.

“Personally speaking, if I were to be Emefiele, I would have resigned alongside my principal, considering the nature of the country we are in. The suspension is to tell him that, if he does not know what to do, then, we would teach him,” Adeyemi said.

A lawyer and former leader of the Igbo Think Tank group, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, also faulted the suspension of Emefiele on the ground that his appointment is a statutory one.

In a poser he made available to The Guardian, Uwazurike, said: “The appointment of the CBN governor is a statutory one. He can only be removed by the Senate resolution. Remember the Sanusi vs FGN case at the FHC.

“The motion ex parte by the DSS to arrest and detain Emefiele was rejected by the FHC.” According to him, Mr. President ignored the Board of the CBN in the suspension of Emefiele and did not justify his actions by referring to the CBN Act.

He also claimed that the person who is now the acting CBN governor ought to have retired having crossed the age of 60. On whether the suspended CBN governor behaved wisely in remaining in office after Buhari left office, Uwazurike said: “Certainly not! The great Nnamdi Azikwe said it’s only a tree that stays put even as it’s being cut down.”

However, a former Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Ibadan District, Biodun Adedeji, said the suspension was long overdue.

“That was long expected. He was a politician holding a professional seat. He is in charge of the country’s monetary policy and at the same time a political office aspirant. That is a mismatch. He has messed up the country’s entire monetary policy. Inflation is on the high rise, the naira redesign is politically motivated rather than addressing the insecurity. Let’s wait for the outcome of the investigation to establish if truly he is involved in money laundering, round-tripping, and financing terrorism,” Adedeji said.

The group, in a statement by its National President, Abiodun Fanoro, commended President Tinubu for mustering the political will to suspend Emefiele. It urged the President to also order the arrest of Malami and go further to order a probe into the despicable roles of the duo in the Naira re-design and swap palaver.

Justifying its call for the trial of the duo, the group said if Emefiele could be suspended on suspicion of official infraction or any other undisclosed allegations, then as a people and government that place a high premium on the sanctity of lives, especially that of its citizens, it followed that the crime against humanity allegedly engineered by the two former officers by the reckless discharge of their official duties be accorded priority when probing into their activities.

Lamenting the silence of critical human rights groups on the need to seek justice for victims of the Naira re-design policy, the group appealed to the Nigerian Bar Association, Amnesty International, SERAP, HURRIWA, and other leading civil society organizations “not to allow these people die in vain by putting pressure on the Federal Government to try them and/or in the alternative drag them to court.”


By Seye Olumide, Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan), Odita Sunday, Collins Olayinka (Abuja), Azeez Olorunlomeru (Lagos)

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