The Speaker of the House of the Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is expected to publicly sign the warrant of arrest against the embattled Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele during Tuesday’s plenary, except there is intervention between tonight and tomorrow.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu who disclosed this during an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune affirmed that the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa had a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari during which he briefed him on the House resolution and the need for the CBN Governor to honour the House invitation on the new cash withdrawal limit and cash swap policy.
He also disclosed that the CBN Governor had at no time briefed the Parliament on any of the policies reeled out since he assumed office, hence, becomes necessary to compel him to brief the Parliament in line with Section 8 subsection 4 of the CBN Act.
He said: “At the last sitting, there was a resolution by the House that the Speaker will sign warrant of arrest for the Inspector General of Police to compel the appearance of the CBN Governor if there’s no communication from CBN either directly by the CBN Governor or anybody designate to do that.
“As at close of work today, there is none of those communications, has been received. And since its ruling of the House, the speaker is bound to sign that warrant of arrest by tomorrow (Tuesday), unless there is any intervention between this night and tomorrow.
“The Leader of the House who’s the Chairman of this Ad-hoc Committee on change of naira notes, is also insisting that the extension by 10 days is not sufficient and has nothing to do with the the invitation. It is in line with the CBN Act that they should first comply with the invitation and convince the House on why they are amending the policy at this critical moment and why the House was not contacted this while.”
While responding to the question on whether the CBN Governor is mandated to appear before the House during Tuesday plenary, Hon. Kalu observed that the CBN Governor is expected to appear before the Ad-hoc Committee, noting that the Committee is an extension of the House in session.
In response to the alleged position of some CBN staff that the CBN is not under obligation to answerable to the Parllament before implementing any of its policies, the House Spokesman maintained that: “No particular Institution of any arm of Government is empowered by the Establishment Act to be greater than the Parliament because its the Parliament that makes the law. And when you look at the CBN Act, Section 8 subsection 4, has it that the Parliament has to be briefed on major policies and it has to be done periodically.
“But since this CBN Governor has come into place, in the 9th Assembly he has never had periodic briefing on any of his activities. So. That is the position of the law.
“We can’t watch the situation as it is without invoking the provisions of the law and asking the respected Agency to comply with the law of the land,” Hon. Kalu stressed.
Recall that the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the policy, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa had in a statement issued on Sunday, rejected the 10-day extension announced by the CBN.
The Majority Leader in the statement, who argued that the 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution, alleged that the policy as being implemented, contravenes the provisions of the extant CBN Act.
“We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Adhoc committee.”
He said under his chairmanship, the Ad-hoc Committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Hon. Doguwa said the CBN Governor must appear before the House or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed by Hon. Speaker on Monday.
He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the States level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, when contacted on the whether the Speaker has signed the writs (warrant of arrest) as disclosed by the House Leader, the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, when first contacted, simply responded: “Please send a chat”.
He however did not respond to questions sent to him nor pick calls.