Emefiele Defended Naira Well, Akpabio Only Currying Tinubu’s Favour To Avoid EFCC — Ohanaeze Youth

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The Ohanaeze Youth Organisation has said that the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, defended the Naira very while at the helm of affairs of the apex bank.

Consequently, the organisation said the allegations by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, that the current economic hardship and hunger in Nigeria were attributable to the actions and policies implemented during Emefiele’s reign as CBN governor were baseless and unfounded.

The Ohanaeze Youth, in a statement by its secretary-general Nwada Amaka Ike, insisted that Akpabio’s comments were ill-intentioned and aimed at currying the favour of President Bola Tinubu to avert the hammer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) dangling on the head of the Nigeria’s number three man.

The group said in defending the Naira and ensuring stability of the currency in the Foreign Exchange (FX) market, the CBN under Emefiele had implemented series of policies to manage the space and ensure that Banks were able to meet the demands of customers seeking forex for SMEs, school fee and medicals.

According to group, the former CBN Governor had at a time explained that “As a result of our demand management policy, the naira has remained largely stable at the I & E window, particularly since the discontinuation of FX allocation to Bureau De Change operators along with the convergence between the CBN and NAFEX rates.”

They said: “Following these policies implementation particularly the stoppage of FX allocation to Bureau De Change operators, the naira maintained relative stability since 2021, according to the CBN, at N411.50/US$ in August but declined to N414.33/US$ in December. The currency rate was N416.98/US$ in February 2022. For a long time, the CBN has used a controlled float exchange rate regime.

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“The decisive and brave, the decision of the Central Bank under the Governor Emefiele to sanction Bureau De Change (BDC) operators for illegal forex trading, discontinuation of the sale of forex to the Bureau operators in Nigeria and the suspension of new BDCs licensing was bold.

“Also, to encourage diaspora remittances and shore up the foreign reserves, the CBN had introduced the ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ and “Race to 200 billion US dollar in FX Repatriation.

“We don’t want to go into comparison with the current policies and the CBN and exchange rate under the government which Akpabio is an integral part but all Nigerians know how it was in the days of Emefiele and now which $1 is almost N2000 soaring inflation and other economic consequences.

“In all these, the Senate President takes pleasure in pointing accusing fingers at the former CBN boss just for one reason which is to find favour in the eyes of President Tinubu so that with his intervention the EFCC would not come after him again.

“We want to remind Akpabio and unsuspecting Nigerians how he was arrested by EFCC over the alleged theft of N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom funds when he governor of the South-south state.

“We have also not forgotten that the EFCC had invited Akpabio to appear for questioning on March 29, 2023 but his lawyer, Umeh Kalu, SAN wrote the anti-graft agency alleging that he was suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia and was receiving medical attention.

“Just in April when he was contesting for Senate President, Akpabio was summoned by EFCC for interrogation over an investigation concerning corruption allegations against him.

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“There were also allegations of an N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the Niger Delta Development Commission, a parastatal under the ministry superintended by Akpabio for three years and N86 billion contract scams involving him and a former Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC had been investigating.

“So ranting Akpabio’s ranting on former CBN governor is nothing but just present himself as holier than thou curry favour with the government of the day and keep EFCC away but we want to tell him that such gimmicks as we call on EFCC to reopen cases involving the Senate President who ordinary should be under sanction and not presiding over Nigeria’s apex legislature.”

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