The Central Bank of Nigeria says Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the CBN will not be able to appear before the House of Representatives because of health challenges.
The apex bank in a letter to the House on Wednesday, said that in Emefiele’s stead, Deputy Governor, Aisha Ahmad, will lead a team of high-ranking official to brief the House during plenary on Thursday.
“Regrettably, the governor is out of the country on an official engagement, as well as attending to some health challenges. He is, therefore, unavailable to attend the briefing given the urgency associated with the briefing, a committee of governors led by Aisha Ahmad, deputy governor of financial system stability, is prepared to brief the House,” the letter reads.
He was originally supposed to brief the lawmakers on December 15, but CBN wrote through deputy governor, corporate services, Edward Adamu, that Emefiele was out of the country.
At plenary on Tuesday, the house rescheduled the governor’s appearance to Thursday, but the CBN wrote again on Wednesday, saying he won’t be available.
A lawmaker, Segun Odebunmi, while disecting the letter on the floor, opposed the appearance of a representative, stressing that Ahmad should address a committee instead.
However, the deputy speaker, Idris Wase said the representative should be allowed to brief the House.
After Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila read the letter, the lawmakers responded “no”, in what appeared to be an objection to the request for the CBN governor to be represented.
But Gbajabiamila appealed to his colleagues to put aside “sentiment” since the issue at stake is critical.
He said; “At this stage, while I understand the sentiment, we have to rise above certain things and not make it personal anymore, in the sense that there is a very critical issue which is the issue of this cash policy”.
He added that if the CBN governor is out of the country and attending to his health, it shouldn’t be insisted that he appear in person before the lawmakers.
Gbajabiamila said it will not serve the interest of the house and country to wait till Emefiele returns to the country which could be in January because “a lot would have happened by then”.
“But if he has asked somebody who is fully equipped with all the facts who can be questioned by the house, who is a deputy governor, financial system and stability, which is what this is about, I think we should hear from her,” he said.
Emefiele was first summoned by the lower chamber on 8th of December, over the apex bank’s new cash withdrawal policy.
The house had also asked the CBN to suspend the policy scheduled to take effect on January 9, 2023.