The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the redesign of three naira notes has rejected the 10 days extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old N200, N500, N1,000 bank notes.
In a statement on Sunday, the Chairman of the Committee and the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the green chamber will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the committee.
According to him, the new naira redesign policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
The CBN had on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.
Many Nigerians have lamented the scarcity of new notes as the January 31 deadline approached while the National Assembly demanded a six-month extension.
However, emerging from a meeting with the President on Sunday, the apex bank chief said Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.
In its immediate reaction, the House of Representatives committee chaired by Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.
The lawmaker said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the adhoc committee.”
Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
He described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed earlier by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.