Reps Disrupt Emergency Session Over New Naira Scarcity
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the federal parliament will have no option but to reconvene before the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 if the Central Bank of Nigeria fails to address the hardships Nigerians are facing over the currency swap policy.
Gbajabiamila noted that the House would continue to closely monitor the CBN’s implementation of the policy, following the Green Chamber’s meeting with Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on the issue.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, quoted Gbajabiamila to have made this known at a town hall meeting with some ethnic groups in Surulere, Lagos.
The statement was titled ‘Currency Swap: We’ll Reconvene Before Elections If… – Gbajabiamila…says Tinubu Stands with Nigerians.’
Emefiele had finally appeared before the House on Tuesday last week over the crisis caused by the redesign of some naira notes and the exchange of old naira notes with new ones by the populace.
Emefiele had partly said, “Subject to the content of the CBN Act, Section 20(3), which says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status; that we are mandated to collect those monies, I stand with the House of Representatives on this. What does that mean? It could have lost its legal tender status, in which case we have moved on, but you have your money that you have not been able to send into the bank.
The House, just like the Senate, had adjourned plenary till February 28 to allow members participation in the electioneering towards the polls.
According to the statement, the Speaker recalled that he was on the verge of signing a warrant for Emefiele’s arrest due to the CBN governor’s initial failure to appear before an ad hoc panel of the House.
Gbajabiamila said, “The House of Representatives intervened on several occasions. We summoned the CBN governor the first time and again, but he refused to answer, because we had many hard questions for him. It was until I issued the threat of warrant of arrest before he came. And I would’ve signed that warrant; it would’ve been the first time in the history of the National Assembly that a CBN governor would be arrested. I would’ve done it.
“Many have argued on the independence of CBN – the autonomy of CBN. That does not make CBN above the law. The Constitution gives the House the power to issue an arrest warrant against anyone; we can summon anybody and that was exactly what the House was going to do until the CBN governor came.
“So, we are watching, and we are monitoring very closely. If need be, we will reconvene the House. Even though we have all been away for our elections. I will call the House back, if need be.”
“If nothing changes, we will intervene again. But be sure of one thing; that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands with you and stands with Nigerians in their suffering. He was the first to shout that what is going on? He has cried, he has begged, he has screamed that people are suffering. What did the PDP candidate say? He said, ‘no, CBN don’t listen to them; you must not extend this thing; let people continue to suffer.’ That is what the PDP candidate said. He said it publicly.