The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has been suspended from office.
A terse statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation signed by the Director of Information, Willie Bassey, on Friday said the President, Bola Tinubu, approved the suspension which takes immediate effect.
The statement read: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, CFR, from office with immediate effect.
“This is sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
“Mr Emefiele has been directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms.”
The acting CBN Governor is Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, who until the new appointment was the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Operations Directorate.
Unconfirmed reports said that shortly after his suspension, Emefiele, who has been under close watch by security operatives since the currency redesign crisis, was immediately arrested and whisked away by security operatives
Emefiele’s suspension is coming barely a fortnight ago after Tinubu directed the CBN to do something about bridging the gap between the official and black market foreign exchange rates, which has been in existence since 2015.
Emefiele superintendent over one the most controversial currency redesign and reissue schemes approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The scheme approved the introduction of new N200, N500 and N1000 bank notes late last year few months to the February elections, ostensibly to help tackle the problem of vote-buying, insecurity and fight inflation.
But some observers said the arrangement was indirectly targeted at frustrating Tinubu, the then presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, in the run up to the general elections, the country was almost shutdown, as the scarcity of the new notes almost brought the entire economy to its knees, resulting in widespread criticisms of the monetary policy.
Some state governors, namely those from Kaduna, Kano and Katsina went to court to get the Supreme Court to compel Emefiele and the CBN to reverse the policy till further notice.