President Bola Tinubu has suspended Godwin Emefiele as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, CFR, from office with immediate effect,” the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Willie Bassey said in a Friday statement.
“This is a sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
“Mr Emefiele has been directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate) [Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi], who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of the investigation and the reforms.”
The development is coming less than two weeks after President Tinubu assumed office and months after the CBN’s heavily-criticized naira swap.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government introduced new bank notes late last year, arguing it would help tackle vote-buying, insecurity and fight inflation among others.
But weeks before the polls, the country was hit with a cash crunch as the CBN withdrew the old notes. The development drew criticisms from top personalities.
Some state governors even took the matter to court with Tinubu faulting the implementation of the policy.
As the then-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu asked the CBN to allow both old and new notes to coexist.
Tinubu said, he was “only concerned about its disruptive implementation and the hardship it has brought on the generality of our people who currently can’t access their hard-earned money to meet obligations and the attendant consequences on the informal sector, where the majority operate”.
In the lead-up to the presidential election, his campaign team claimed the move was targeted at Tinubu.
During his inauguration, President Tinubu did not mince words about the naira swap policy and promised to review it.
He maintained that it “was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians.
“The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender”.