There was confusion Monday afternoon at the headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja when the bank’s embattled governor, Godwin Emefielehe resumed his duties weeks after he left the country in disputed circumstances.
Emefiele has been out of the country for several weeks amid fears that he will be arrested by State Security Service (SSS) agents who are investigating various allegations against him, including corruption and terrorist financing.
Reports claimed on Monday afternoon that State Security Service (SSS) agents invaded the CBN headquarters and seized the office of the beleaguered main bank governor.
An online publication, Daily Nigerian, reported that the SSS operatives entered with about 20 vehicles with armed personnel. The operations also prevented all bank staff from accessing Emefiele’s office, he said.
But in a statement signed by SSS spokesman Peter Afunnaya, the secret police said the reports are “false and misleading.”
“The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to false news circulating that their agents have invaded the Central Bank of Nigeria and arrested their Governor, today 16/1/23. This is fake news and quite misleading.”
Meanwhile, the main bank in its statement said that Mr. Emefiele resumed his duties on Monday after his annual leave.
The statement, signed by the main bank’s spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, says that Emefiele resumed his work ahead of the first meeting of the year of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) scheduled for January 23-24.
“Mr. Emefiele remains committed to carrying out the task before him in accordance with his oath and the political direction of President Muhammadu Buhari,” the bank said.
“While we thank the public for keeping faith in the Bank, we urge Nigerians to continue to support the Bank’s policies aimed at ensuring a stable financial system and the Nigerian economy in general.”
Last week, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Emefiele quietly returned to the country, according to central bank and presidential sources.
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This newspaper also learned that Mr. Emefiele was planning to leave the country again very soon, fearing that the secret police could eventually arrest him amid the ongoing power play at the highest levels of the Nigerian government. “He is trying to leave in the next few days under the guise of attending the annual World Economic Forum,” our source said.
Until his return on Monday afternoon, Emefiele’s controversial absence from the nation had been a source of concern for stakeholders in the banking sector ahead of the first meeting of the year of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) scheduled for on January 23. The CBN chief chairs MPC meetings where key monetary policy decisions are made as part of the main bank’s efforts to control inflation, regulate banking operations and stabilize the broader economy.
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