Update 2: “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is now in its custody for some investigative reasons,” Peter Afunanya, the spokesperson for the agency, said in a press statement he shared with PREMIUM TIMES.
Update 1: The DSS issued a statement this morning saying: ” Currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS.” They said “no comment” yesterday when asked about the arrest. Although the statement doesn’t invalidate the story, I think it should be added as an update.
The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), hours after he was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu’s decision to suspend the CBN governor in less than two weeks after assuming office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has been linked to so many things.
But according to a statement issued by the Director of Information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Willie Bassey, the suspension is a result of ongoing investigations into the activities of the CBN and planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
The statement further specified that Emefiele has been instructed to hand over the responsibilities of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Folashodu Shonubi, who will serve as the acting Central Bank Governor until the conclusion of the investigation and implementation of the reforms.
“President Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, from office with immediate effect. This is sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
“Mr Emefiele has been directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of the investigation and the reforms,” he stated.
The former CBN governor was at the center of many monetary policies that allegedly impacted the economic well-being of the country negatively. Late last year, Emefiele introduced the controversial naira redesign policy which nearly ground the informal sector to a halt.
Then, Tinubu, who was campaigning as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), claimed the naira redesign policy was part of the plot to scuttle his presidential ambition.
The DSS has been on Emefiele’s trail
In December, the DSS moved to arrest Emefiele on allegations of financial crimes, financing terrorism, and money laundering. However, an Abuja high court declined to grant the application by the DSS over lack of evidence.
Justice JT Tsoho, the presiding judge, ruled in declining the motion ex parte, that the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that the CBN governor was in any way involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.
“In the light of the foregoing reasons, I decline to grant this application ex parte. If the applicant believes that the evidence available to it so far is sufficient, then it can as well arrest and detain the applicant, even without the order of the court. If however, the applicant desires to still pursue this application, then it should place the respondent on notice considering the sensitive public office that he occupies,” the judge held.
Against this backdrop, it is not clear what the truth is. However, a growing number of Nigerians believe the president is being vindictive. Emefiele’s critics said one of his greatest undoings as the CBN governor was meddling in politics.
Emefiele had picked up the form for APC presidential ticket while serving as the apex bank’s head.
Meanwhile, Tinubu is being criticized for appointing Shonubi, who studied mechanical engineering, as the CBN acting governor.