N500bn Deal: CWAI Drags Emefiele to Court, Insists Confirmation Illegal

PRESS RELEASE 22 May, 2019

 After a critical analysis, observations and speedy tacit endorsement given by the Senate in confirming the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI) has come to the stark realization and conclusion that Nigeria is not ready to either reap or join the comity of nations.

CWAI reasons that the Nigerian Senate, by this singular act of confirming Emefiele for a second term, has failed Nigerians. This was done irrespective of the clarion call by Nigerians that justice must be done, due process and rule of law must be followed in order to get to the root of the alleged infractions.

CWAI has decided to take up the gauntlet from those corrupt few “who have held us by the jugular as hostage in our own country to seek redress in the re-appointment and subsequent speedy confirmation of Mr Emefiele, whose tenure as governor has witnessed a tumultuous event of alleged financial infractions and the nose-diving of the economy since he assumed duties as the head of the apex bank.

In a press release signed by the Executive Secretary of CWAI, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, and Head Media Relations, Comrade James Okoronkwo, the organization said Nigeria is operating a democratically elected government and, as such, it should be seen in all aspects of the nation. CWAI therefore reasons that Mr Emefiele must not continue to remain in that office after so many years of alleged cases of misconduct and infractions as if we are still in a military regime, knowing fully well that we have capable Nigerians who can occupy the seat out of the over 200 million Nigerians.

 Emphasizing that CWAI, a civil society and anti-corruption organization has taken the CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele to the Abuja High Court to seek the interpretation of Section 11(2)(c) of the Central Bank Act 2007 as amended and to also clarify if he is fit and proper a person to be appointed or re-appointed as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria under the above sub-head, having regard to the unexplained and uncontroverted diversion of N500 billion under his leadership.

 CWAI affirmed the declaration that the alleged diversion of N500 billion under his leadership is a serious misconduct rendering Mr Emefiele incapable of remaining as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in line with Section 11(2)(c) of the CBN Act 2007.

 The organization recalled that, just this month, Sahara Reporters (an online medium), released a full audio conversation as well as on May 13, 2019, published a full transcription of the conversation between the CBN Governor and Deputy Governor, Mr Edward Lametek Adamu; Director of Finance Dayo M. Arowosegbe and Special Adviser to the CBN governor, Mr Emmanuel Ukeze, discussing how to cover up diverted N500 billion.

These allegations were later admitted in the press statement issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, but merely classified it as about N150 billion, to which CWAI issued a press statement on May 13, 2019, which was published under the caption, “Alleged N500 Deal: Suspend Emefiele Now, CWAI Tells FG.” In the said statement, the CWAI urged the Senate to look at the vexed issue raised in the audio conversation by concerned Nigerians so as not to confirm the CBN governor but in a sudden twist on 16th May, 2019, the Senate hurriedly screened and confirmed the CBN governor without due recourse to all the weighty allegations levied against his leadership of the apex bank.

CWAI therefore vehemently opposes Mr Godwin Emefiele’s re-appointment by the Federal Government, screening and subsequent confirmation as CBN governor by the Senate, in all it’s entirely, insisting that justice must be seen to have been done. The CBN governor and his management staff involved in the alleged N500 billion deal, were to be have been duly suspended due to the misconduct and proper investigations carried out for Nigerians to determine the veracity and the extent of culpability so as to give the appointment the much needed credibility it deserves.

 CWAI is in court, and is determined to see to it that the interpretation of Section 11(2)(c) of the CBN Act 2007 is thoroughly adhered to. This is because, as CWAI reasons, Nigeria belongs to all of us and we must do all we can to salvage it by growing our institutions, instead of persons.

CWAI further insists that the audio conversation released by the Sahara Reporters is a true-copy until proven otherwise of what transpired that must be investigated by the forensic auditors for future deterrence. The organization believes in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man, as we begin this judicial exercise.

CWAI reiterates that it is not about the person but the institution and for Nigerians to be great, we must all sacrifice to make Nigeria work and this is one of such sacrifices that must be done to allow aspirations of Nigeria come to pass as we thank Nigerians for the encouragement as we await the “mother of all judicial processes.”

Emefiele’s re-appointment and subsequent confirmation “is a death kneel for the Nigerian economy as he has performed poorly since he came on board as the Govern of the Central Bank of Nigeria five years ago.”