The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House would have no option but to reconvene before the February 25 elections if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) failed to address the hardships Nigerians face due to the currency swap policy.
The speaker said the House would continue to monitor the CBN’s implementation of the policy closely following the Green Chamber’s meeting with the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, on the issue.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, said Gbajabiamila spoke during a town hall meeting with some ethnic groups in Surulere, Lagos State, on Sunday.
He quoted Gbajabiamila as saying that he was on the verge of signing an arrest warrant against Emefiele following his initial failure to appear before an ad-hoc panel of the House.
“The House of Representatives intervened on several occasions. We summoned the CBN governor the first time and again, but he refused to answer, because we had many hard questions for him.
“It was until I issued the threat of warrant of arrest before he came, and I would’ve signed that warrant; it would’ve been the first time in the history of National Assembly that a CBN governor would be arrested. I would’ve done it.
“Many have argued on the independence of CBN, the autonomy of CBN. That does not make CBN above the law. The constitution gives the House the power to issue an arrest warrant against anyone, we can summon anybody, and that was exactly what the House was going to do until the CBN governor came.
“So, we are watching, and we are monitoring very closely. If need be, we will reconvene the House, even though we’ve all been away for our elections. I will call the House back, if need be,” he said.
Gbajabiamila also said that amidst the ongoing hardship, the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has identified with Nigerians and faulted the implementation of the policy at this time, which necessitated the extension of the deadline for the collection of the old currency.
“On the currency swap, let me explain something to you. We are all very intelligent people. Many are suffering, we have paid your salary, and you cannot withdraw it; people cannot eat, what kind of thing is that?
“But I have news for you. There’s one man who is running for president of this country, and that man has courage and audacity. This man came out boldly and identified the problem, that the fifth columnists, in cooperation with the PDP are the ones trying to sabotage this election.
“Many have said he’s talking about Buhari, but he told them ‘no, I’m not talking about Buhari; I’m talking about fifth columnists.’ If you don’t know the meaning of fifth columnists, go and check your dictionary. Fifth columnists infiltrate people, they even infiltrate families, otherwise how do you explain this type of policy?
“The president, being a compassionate person that he is, has asked for a few more days to look at everything that is going on and see if anything could change. We pray that things will change. If nothing changes, we will intervene again, but be sure of one thing: that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands with you and stands with Nigerians in their suffering.
“He was the first to shout that what is going on? He has cried, he has begged, he has screamed that people are suffering, what did the PDP candidate say? He said, ‘no, CBN don’t listen to them; you must not extend this thing; let people continue to suffer.’ That is what the PDP candidate said. He said it publicly.
“So, you have the tale of two presidential candidates: one who stands with the people and says this currency swap must stop; the second one says,’ no, it cannot stop, it’s a good policy. CBN, don’t listen to him. Let the people continue to suffer.’ I leave the rest to you to determine who is with you and who is against you,” he added.