19 March 2014

Nigeria: CBN Gov - Senate Screens Emefiele Tomorrow

The Senate will tomorrow begin screening of Mr Godwin Emefiele for confirmation as the new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Emefiele was nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan to replace suspended CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi when his tenure expires in June.

The screening was listed in Tuesday's Senate Notice Paper for this Thursday.

The Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), was scheduled to formally move the motion for the screening and confirmation of the nominee.

The CBN Act is being amended to, among others, remove a sitting CBN governor from being chairman of the CBN Governing Board.

The amendment bill has also made the CBN governor answerable to the CBN's board chairman.

The amendment, which was formally introduced in the Senate yesterday, empowers the president to appoint any person of high integrity as chairman of the board subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

Ndoma-Egba's motion would also pave way for the screening and confirmation of Adelabu Adebayo Adekola as deputy governor of the CBN. He was nominated by the president.

Nominating Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation in February, Jonathan said: "In view of the fact that the tenure of the current Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will end on June1, 2014, and pursuant to the provisions section 8(1) and (2) of the CBN Act, 2007, I hereby forward the name of Mr Godwin I. Emefiele for kind consideration and confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for appointment as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)."

In his bid to return to office before June 2014 when his tenure is supposed to lapse, Sanusi had dragged President Jonathan before an Abuja Federal High Court in a suit he filed to challenge his suspension from office.

Sanusi asked the court to restrain the president, the attorney-general of the federation and the inspector-general of police from giving effect to his purported suspension from office as the CBN governor, pending the determination of the suit.

He equally asked the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants "from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him, in any manner whatsoever, from performing the functions of his office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and enjoying in full the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office".

The CBN amendment bill, which is being sponsored by Senator Ita Enang, went through the first reading on the floor of the Senate yesterday. It also reduced the powers of a sitting CBN governor by amending section 7(1) of the existing act which states that "The CBN governor shall be in charge of the day-to-day management of the Bank".

But the proposed amendment states that the governor shall be in charge of the general administration of the affairs and business of the bank and shall be answerable to the Board for his acts and decisions

The amendment bill also specifically states: "The board shall consist of 'The Chairman who shall be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate and shall be a person of proven integrity credited with expertise in financial regulation."

The existing Act in its section 6(2) specifically makes a sitting CBN governor the chairman of the Board.

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