The House of Representatives says it will not hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to compel the appearance of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for refusing its summon.
The House also threatened to issue similar warrant leading to the arrest of the Managing Directors (MDs) of commercial banks who failed, refused or neglected to honour its summons.
The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this at the plenary in Abuja on Thursday.
Rep, Alhssan Ado Dogwu, Chairman, ad hoc committee set up to interface with the CBN and bank MDs on scarcity of the new notes and the deadline for the old notes, had briefed the House on the failure of CBN to appear before it.
A visibly angry Gbajabiamila said that, though Emefiele is a friend, but beyond this, “I have a constitutional responsibility to discharge for the people we represent.”
He said the refusal by the CBN and bank MDs to heed the invitation of the House was evidence in the blatant disregard to the people and an insult to the parliament.
“If at the end of today, there is further disregard, I will not hesitate to issue a warrant to the IGP to compel the arrest of CBN and MDs of banks.
“Apparently, it appears the Governor and his people will not be showing up today but I will still give them the benefit of the doubt, they have a few more hours to rethink and show up,” he said.
He told the committee to go into the committee room and await their arrival, adding that if they did not show up, the House would take the step it needed to take.
He said this was sequel to the House response to a motion of urgent public in importance in section 89, 1(d) of the constitution and Order 19, 2, 1 of the Standing Order of the House of Reps.
He said the House recognised the CBN’s authority to determined 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 sub section 3 of CBN Act mandates the CBN to redeem the face value of the recall currency upon demand even after the expiration of notice of recall.
He added that this was notwithstanding the deadline imposed by the CBN, adding that the House would see to it that the provision of the law was honoured in full.
Explaining further, Gbajabiamila said the law allowed the CBN to change the legal tender, adding that after the expiration date, such old naira notes would no longer be legal tender.
“But it says that even five, three, and two months after, only old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank.
“That point needs to be made to the CBN and the public but it has not been made. It is a provision of law,” he said.
Buttressing his point further, Gbajabiamila said, “In 2009 and 2010, the then CBN Governor, Charles Soludo, introduced polyma notes and wanted to phased out 5, 10, 20 and 50 naira notes.
“There was public outcry because of the time, at the end of the day it was halted and he did what all known CBN all over the world did”.
He said Soludo introduced the polyma and allowed the old notes to continue until everything was moped up by the bank.
The House of Reps had on Jan. 24 summoned bank operators and CBN, on the scarcity of the new naira notes.
This is sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Sanda Soli (APC-Katsina) at the plenary.
However, the CBN, in a letter written to the House, said Emefiele was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to Dakar, Senegal, hence he would not be available to appear before the House.