Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has threatened to invoke the provisions of section 89(D) of the 1999 Constitution as amended to compel the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emiefele to appear before the House. Section 89 gives the parliament power to issue a warrant of arrest on anybody who refuses to honour an invitation from them. The House had invited the CBN and bank directors over the January 31, 2023 deadline for the validity of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes but the apex bank and managing directors of commercial banks refused to heed the invitation by the green chamber. Gbajabiamila, in a statement on Thursday, noted that the CBN and the bank chiefs, by shunning the invitation of the House, insulted the authority and prerogatives of the people’s parliament. “This is unacceptable,” he said.
About two months ago, the House had asked the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the House over the naira redesign but the invitation wasn’t honoured by the CBN governor.
The House subsequently summoned bank chiefs to give reasons for the ongoing failure to adequately disburse the redesigned naira notes before the expiration of the January 31, 2023.
The House had constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at the Deposit Money Banks, also known as commercial banks, leading to tension over the January 31 deadline set by the CBN for the exchange of the old notes with the newly designed ones.
Chairman of the committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, at the plenary on Thursday, informed the House about the failure of the CBN chiefs to honour the invitation on Wednesday. He said the committee had rescheduled the meeting to 1 pm on Thursday.
Gbajabiamila said instead of the House adjourning plenary till February 28 for the elections as planned, the lawmakers would reconvene on Tuesday to take an action against Emefiele and other bank chiefs who fail to show up.