Details have emerged revealing why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu suspended the embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
Recall that the CBN governor’s suspension was announced in a statement on Friday by the Director of Information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation OSGF (OSGF), Willie Bassey.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CFR, from office with immediate effect,” Bassey said in a statement.
“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 investigation and the reforms.”
The apex bank’s deputy governor in charge of Operations, Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, was directed to take over in an acting capacity.
It was gathered that Emefiele’s suspension by President Bola Tinubu might have been triggered by the probe instituted against him last week by the House of Representatives.
Sources in Abuja told The Nation that, sequel to Emefiele’s suspension, he has also been barred from leaving the Federal Capital and may be probed by the Department of State Services (DSS) for alleged terrorism financing.
The House of Representatives inquisition into the activities of the CBN under Emefiele has opened many cans of worms, such that the authorities felt compelled to suspend him to allow for proper investigation.
“There is a lot of dossier on him (Emefiele), so it is only proper that he should step aside in order to allow for proper investigation into the allegations preferred against him,” the source said.
Another source familiar with the development said: “The CBN governor’s probe by the Reps is just a prelude to what may follow in a few days.”
Emefiele, according to sources, has been restricted to Abuja for now, and there were indications last night that the DSS might revisit its investigation of him for alleged terrorism financing.
It was also learned that the Presidency technically removed the CBN Governor through suspension instead of outright sack because the law constrained Tinubu.
An ad hoc committee of the House investigating the alleged missing 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude had summoned Emefiele to provide details on the N32.5 billion said to have been paid to two companies — Messrs GSCL Consulting and Bizplus — without formal records.
The Green Chamber is also investigating an alleged payment of $200 million to the firms for “consultancy service.”
A source claimed that although some forces advised Emefiele to resign, he underrated the signal.
According to The Nation, Emefiele has many pending allegations against him, but the DSS probe was “crucial and interesting.”
A reliable source said: “Since it was a security matter, former President Muhammadu Buhari did not stop DSS from investigating Emefiele. But some members of the cabal in the Presidency frustrated the DSS.
“Now it is obvious the DSS may probe him because the encumbrances are no longer there. He had gone to the DSS headquarters for grilling before pressure came from some influential forces to halt the move.”
On the likely recall of Emefiele from suspension, a government source said, “It is remote. He has been technically removed like the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan did to a former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
“By the provision of Section 11 of the CBN Act 2007, the President cannot unilaterally remove a CBN Governor, Deputy Governor or a director.”