The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has declared that the legislative chamber will reconvene before this month’s general elections, if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fails to address the current naira scarcity.
There has been scarcity of the new N200, N500 and N1,000 naira notes and this has caused hardship on citizens.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Lagos, on Sunday, Gbajabiamila said he was close to signing the warrant for the arrest of Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, before he eventually appeared before an ad hoc committee of the house.
The speaker said the lower legislative chamber is monitoring the situation to see if the apex bank would address the scarcity of the new naira notes.
“The house of representatives intervened on several occasions. We summoned the CBN governor the first time and again, but he refused to answer, because we had many hard questions for him,” Lanre Lasisi, his spokesperson, quoted him as saying.
“It was until I issued the threat of a warrant of arrest before he came, and I would’ve signed that warrant; it would’ve been the first time in the history of the national assembly that a CBN governor would be arrested. I would’ve done it.
“Many have argued on the independence of CBN, the autonomy of CBN. That does not make the CBN above the law.
“The constitution gives the house the power to issue an arrest warrant against anyone. We can summon anybody, and that was exactly what the house was going to do until the CBN governor came.
“So, we are watching, and we are monitoring very closely. If need be, we will reconvene the house, even though we’ve all been away for our elections. I will call the house back, if need be.”
Gbajabiamila expressed dissatisfaction that many people have worked hard for their money, yet they could not access it.
“If nothing changes, we will intervene again, but be sure of one thing: that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands with you and stands with Nigerians in their suffering,” he said.
“He was the first to shout, what is going on? He has cried; he has begged; he has screamed that people are suffering, what did the PDP candidate say? He said, ‘No, CBN, don’t listen to them; you must not extend this thing; let people continue to suffer.’ That is what the PDP candidate said. He said it publicly.
“So, you have the tale of two presidential candidates: one who stands with the people and says this currency swap must stop; the second one says, ‘no, it cannot stop, it’s a good policy.”