An Abuja-based activist, Sesugh Akume, has filed a suit before a Federal High Court in the nation’s capital, asking it to determine whether or not the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has not been grossly incompetent by failing to provide price control, a strong Naira and a stable exchange rate.
Akume also asked the court to stop Emefiele and the CBN from further lending to the Nigerian government until the trillions of Naira allegedly owed are refunded in full.
He wants the court to also compel the CBN never to lend beyond the prescribed 5% of the previous year’s revenues.
The activist in a statement obtained by SaharaReporters said the apex bank under Emefiele had been engaged in the illegality of lending to the Nigerian government more than the prescribed 5% of the revenues of the previous year.
He said, “The principal duties of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are to ensure price control, a strong naira, a stable exchange rate, etc. Ironically and sadly, under Godwin Emefiele as CBN governor since June 2014, only the reverse has been consistently achieved.
“Inflation (increase in the price of goods and services) has gone through the roof (from 7% in 2014 to 18% presently) as against the role of the CBN to stabilise and preferably lower it. Between May 2020 and June this year alone, the naira has been devalued by the CBN thrice (as the Bank said Wednesday last week, 8 September, that it was not bothered about the valuation of the naira!).
“As of the time Mr Emefiele resumed at the CBN, the official naira/US dollar exchange rate was 155 naira/US dollar, today it has been between 407 and 412 naira/US dollar in the past 3 months (and exchanged at 535 naira/US dollar as of Friday 10 September) the worst in the history of the country.
“To worsen matters, the CBN under Mr Emefiele has been engaged in the illegality of lending to the federal government more than the prescribed 5% of the government’s revenues of the previous year. In 2020, for instance, the Bank lent the government 2.8 trillion naira which is 62% of 2019 revenues! The Bank further lends to the federal government even when it is yet to refund what was previously borrowed (presently, the federal government owes the CBN 15.51 trillion naira, 14.86 trillion of this under the Buhari regime) contrary to the express provisions of section 38 of the CBN Act.”
He added, “These are some of the bad policies of the CBN under Mr Emefiele which cause the high inflation, a weakened naira, a poor exchange rate, instability in the economy, etc, and not just the unstable price of crude oil in the global market as many like to deceive the unsuspecting public.
“Instead of focusing on his job of delivering on the mandate of the CBN (which he is obviously failing at), Mr Emefiele has been using the CBN as a political tool of the regime by, for instance, having the bank accounts of #EndSARS protesters sealed by the courts over false, bogus and malicious charges, which is not in any way the business of the CBN.
“By engaging in extralegal and ultra vires activities to please the regime and be its easy tool, Mr Emefiele has made the Bank lose its independence (and credibility), contrary to section 1(3) of the CBN Act.
“Today, my lawyers filed an action against the CBN and Mr Emefiele (as CBN governor) at the Federal High Court, Abuja marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1051/2021 seeking the court to determine whether or not Mr Emefiele and the CBN have not been grossly incompetent by failing to provide price control, a strong naira, a stable exchange rate, etc but rather skyrocketing prices, inconsistent and poor monetary policies, a weak and unstable naira, uncontrollable exchange rate, etc? Whether or not lending to the government above 5% of the previous year’s revenues and further lending when previous loans are not repaid are illegal?
“We ask the court to weigh what is before it and come to the inevitable conclusion that Mr Emefiele and the CBN are grossly incompetent; to stop them from further lending to the government under ways and means until the trillions of naira owed are refunded in full, and to never lend beyond the prescribed 5% of the previous year’s revenues.
“The suit is further strengthened by strong corroborating evidence from my good friends, economic and financial experts and analysts, Samson Galadima Simon, and Tosin Adeoti on oath. This is possibly a novel lawsuit asking the court to declare a public institution/officer incompetent based on the evidence before it, and establish that public institutions/officers can be held liable/accountable for their failures, especially as they affect the public negatively.”