House rejects extension for old currency swap, insists on Emefile’s arrest

*House speaker, Mr. Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

The house of representatives ad hoc committee on new naira redesign and naira swap policy has rejected the 10-day extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for swapping the old 200, 500 and 1, 000 naira notes for the redesigned ones.

Recall that the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had on Sunday announced the extension for the deadline for the collection of the old currency notes from January 31 to February 10, 2023 “to allow for the collection of more old notes.”

He said he had the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the extension.

“We have sought and obtained Mr. President’s approval for the following: a 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023; to allow for collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians and  achieve more success in cash swap in our rural communities after which all old notes outside the CBN loses their legal tender status.

“Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilisation and monitoring together with officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission will work together to achieve these objectives.

“A seven-day grace period, beginning from February 10 to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act, allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its legal tender status,” Emefiele stated.

However, the ad hoc committee headed by the majority leader, house of representatives, Mr. Alhassan Doguwa, described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood

He said in a statement on Sunday that the lawmakers rejected the extension while insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5  of the CBN Act.

Recall that the lawmakers had during its sitting last Tuesday following the outcry by Nigerians, constituted the ad hoc committee to look into the issue.

“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-section 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.

According to him, 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.

While describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa said the CBN governor must appear before the House or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs to be signed by the speaker on monday.

He also said the policy was capable of frustrating the forthcoming general election.

“Security agencies and their operations especially at the state level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.


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