Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee rejects extension of Naira swap, warns of Emefiele’s arrest
The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on redesigning three naira notes has rejected the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) 10-day extension for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 bank notes.
The Chairman of the Committee and Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said in a statement released on Sunday, January 29, that the lawmakers will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to appear before the committee.
According to him, the new naira redesign policy has the potential to derail the upcoming 2023 general elections.
Recall that many Nigerians have complained about the inability to access the newly redesigned notes. The CBN had initially placed the deadline for the exchange of the old Naira notes for the new ones on January 31st. However, following the series of complaints from Nigerians, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement released on Sunday, January 29, announced that the deadline had been extended to February 10.
In its immediate reaction, the House of Representatives committee chaired by Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.
“The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: 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 ad-hoc committee.”
Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
He described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed earlier by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
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.
The Naira swap program was introduced as a way to stabilize the Nigerian currency, the Naira, and boost its value in the international market. It involves exchanging Naira for foreign currencies, such as the US dollar, in order to increase its availability and help the country’s economy. The extension of the program was proposed to help the country’s economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic challenges.
However, the House of Representatives Committee has expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the Naira swap program and its impact on the country’s economy. They believe that the program has not met its intended goals and has instead resulted in further devaluation of the Naira and increased inflation.
Furthermore, the Committee has accused the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, of mismanaging the program and failing to provide adequate oversight and accountability. As a result, the Committee has warned Emefiele of arrest if the CBN fails to address these concerns and improve the Naira swap program.