By Femi Ogunshola, Abuja.
The House of Representatives has again given a two-day ultimatum for the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it for clarifications on the new policy of cash withdrawal limits.
The House gave the ultimatum in Abuja on Tuesday, after reading a letter by Emefiele, explaining why he could not appear at the day’s plenary.
The ultimatum was due to Emefiele’s inability to appear before the House during the first summon, sequel to a resolution passed by the House on Dec. 15 for him to appear to explain the new policy.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the House should resolve to invite the CBN Governor to brief it on Dec 22, or invite his deputy, who was also well-equipped, to come and brief the House on the new policy.
In his letter, Emefiele said that he was unavoidably absent because he was in the U.S. with President Muhammadu Buhari on official visit, adding that the House should give him another date.
Gbajabiamila said: “The earlier date is today, at 10 a.m. and just yesterday, the Clerk received a letter where it was stated that the Governor was regrettably unavailable because he has other official engagement.”
In his contribution, Rep. Yusuf Gadgi (APC-Plateau) underscored the need for public officers to account for their activities before the National Assembly, whenever they were called upon to do so.
According to him, public officers should know that it was not the Speaker or any member that was inviting them to come and explain some of the policies that Nigerians needed to know.
“I am not against the policy but against disrespect for the Speaker, who is the symbol of this House.
“We have name to protect, we should be mindful of the impression the House is given; coming here to address some of these policies is important and we will not tolerate further excuses,” he said.
Responding, Rep. Femi Bamishile (APC-Ekiti) appealed to members of the House, to exercise patience, adding that the letter to the CBN Governor came when he was out of the country.
He said that a new date could be given to the CBN Governor, while urging the speaker to give him a new date.
On his part, Rep. Cook Olododo (SDP-Kwara) asked if the Speaker was sure that the CBN Governor would honour the invitation on the new date.
Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader of the House, said the House had taken a position, adding that the issue of inviting the CBN Governor was just to fulfil all righteousness.
“We have asked him to stop the implementation of the policy. What we should be looking at is whether he would disregard the resolution and go ahead with the policy,” he said.
Rep. Al-Hassan Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House, said that it would be apt for the CBN governor to come and explain the new policy before the House.
He added that in that case, questions could be raised whenever he came, adding that the interaction would help the House to make informed decisions.
The speaker, however, said the important thing was to get proper briefing and based on the law, the governor should come and brief the House.
“At this point, we should be requesting for explanations on the official assignment that will keep the CBN governor away from the country for that long.”
Gbajabiamila noted that the invitation to Emefiele was not from the Speaker but from the whole House, adding that the CBN governor’s refusal to come today should not be misconstrued as disrespect to him.