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Emefiele: House of Reps to bar CBN chiefs from politics

The House of Representatives has begun the process of disqualifying politicians and persons with political affiliations from taking leadership positions in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Serving top officials of the apex bank will also be barred from politics.

This is being proposed in the Central Bank of Nigeria (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which is seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, which passed second reading at the plenary on Tuesday.

The legislation is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Act 2007 to Add More Conditions for Disqualification and Cessation of Appointment as Governor, Deputy Governor or Director of the Bank; and for Related Matters.’

The bill is particularly seeking to amend Section 11(2) of the CBN Act by inserting a new Paragraph (f) to read thus: “(f) Is a member of a political party or involved in partisan politics.”

Criticisms had trailed the affiliation of the current Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, with the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, where he aspired to run for president.

Sponsor of the bill, Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), while leading debate on the legislation, noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 is the legal instrument that establishes the Central Bank of Nigeria and the office of the CBN governor. He also noted that by virtue of Section 7 and 8 of the Act, the CBN is answerable to the President, the National Assembly and the apex bank’s Board of Directors.

The lawmaker further noted that Section 11 of the CBN Act 2007 provides the conditions under which the Governor of the CBN shall cease to act in that capacity.

He said, “According to Section 11(2)(a)-(f), there is no mention as related to the political parties or partisan politics of the governor of the CBN or its directors. Therefore, we need to add to the principal Act by inserting a new Section 11(2)(f) to read thus: ‘is a member of a political party or  involved in partisan politics.’

“These changes will enable any person who is interested in partisan politics to cease as the Governor of the Central Bank and this will give more honour to the position of the CBN governor, deputy governor and director.”

Soli stated in part, “This amendment is no prejudice to anybody but because the Act was tested and it was found weak. Therefore, we need to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria as the lender of last resort, the Bank of Federal Republic of Nigeria, to restore its credibility from the shock it has suffered in the course of interpreting the law, basically because of the absence of what I’m trying to amend.”

“Why am I doing this? Because there was a time the CBN governor (Emefiele) went to court seeking an interpretation whether he can participate in partisan politics. We need to address that. Today, the credibility of CBN in custody of sensitive election material is being questioned. It is not against any individual but to save the integrity of CBN.”

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