CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
THERE was confusion Monday afternoon at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s headquarters in Abuja as the embattled governor of the bank, Godwin Emefiele, resumed duty weeks after he left the country on alleged health grounds.
Mr Emefiele has been out of the country for several weeks amidst fears he would be arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) who are investigating allegations against him, including corruption and terrorism financing, even though two high courts had earlier barred the secret police from arresting him or interfering with his job as governor of CBN without disclosing any cause of action.
Reports claimed Monday afternoon that operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) invaded the headquarters of the CBN and took over the office of the governor of the apex bank.
An online publication, Daily Nigerian, reported that the SSS operatives came in with about 20 vehicles with armed personnel. The operatives also barred all staff of the bank from gaining access to Mr Emefiele’s office, it said.
But in a statement signed by the SSS spokesperson, Peter Afunnaya, the secret police said the reports are “fake and misleading.”
“The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to the false news making the rounds that its operatives invaded the Central Bank of Nigeria and arrested its Governor, today 16/1/23. This is fake news and quite misleading”.
Meanwhile, the apex bank in its statement said that Mr Emefiele resumed duty on Monday after his annual leave.
The statement, signed by the apex bank’s spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, said Mr Emefiele resumed to perform his duty ahead of the first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year scheduled for January 23 to 24.
“Mr Emefiele remains committed to performing the task before him in line with his oath of office and the policy direction of President Muhammadu Buhari,” the bank said.
“While thanking the public for keeping faith with the Bank, we urge Nigerians to continue to support the policies of the Bank aimed at ensuring a stable financial system and the Nigerian economy in general.”
Last week, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Emefiele quietly returned to the country, according to sources in the apex bank and the presidency.
This newspaper also learnt that Mr Emefiele planned to leave the country again very soon, afraid the secret police could eventually arrest him amidst the continuous power play at the highest levels of the Nigerian government. “He is trying to leave within the next few days on the pretence of attending the annual World Economic Forum,” our source said.
Until his return Monday afternoon, Mr Emefiele’s controversial absence from the nation had been a source of worry for stakeholders in the banking sector ahead of the CBN’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year scheduled for 23 January. The CBN boss chairs the MPC meetings in which key monetary policy decisions are taken as part of the apex bank’s efforts to control inflation, regulate banking operations, and stabilise the larger economy.
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