Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has identified the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, as an accomplice in the Naira redesign programme that rocked the country some months ago.
SaharaReporters reported on Thursday that Emefiele who is being detained by the country’s secret police, the Department of State Services, was the reason why the embattled EFCC chairman was also invited and detained.
The media reporters on Wednesday night reported that the DSS invited Bawa to its headquarters at about 9:02 pm.
He was thereafter grilled by the operatives of the secret police.
This comes hours after he was suspended indefinitely by President Bola Tinubu.
Bawa’s invitation and grilling by the DSS came days after Emefiele was arrested and flown from Lagos to Abuja to also face interrogations over alleged corruption and abuse of office.
READ ALSO : Tinubu Removes EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed, Bawa
According to SaharaReporters Emefiele and Bawa – both undergoing interrogation – were being quizzed on sundry issues including the Naira redesign scam.
On November 23, 2022, then-President Muhammadu Buhari alongside Emefiele unveiled new naira notes in denominations of N200, N500 and N1,000. Emefiele insisted that the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
Addressing journalists after the event, Emefiele insisted that the move was not targeted at anyone as there were speculations that the move was pushed by the cabal in the Presidency and targeted at preventing Bola Tinubu, then-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress from winning the February 25, 2023 election.
The policy caused Nigerians untold hardship due to the scarcity of naira notes with the CBN unable to meet the demand for new notes. The policy led to a cash crisis and long queues at banks and ATMs.
“Emefiele who is currently cooling his feet in the cell of the DSS is the reason why the EFCC chairman has been detained overnight. Emefiele who is cooperating with the DSS claimed that Bawa was the one who raised a memo to former President Muhammadu Buhari, asking that the Naira should be redesigned to stem money laundering during the 2023 election,” a top source revealed.
“Bawa confronted him that he (Emefiele) and the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Malami were the ones that came to him to raise the memo because they suspected Tinubu had warehouses stuffed with naira notes,” the source added.
Tinubu indefinitely suspended Bawa from office on Wednesday, saying it would allow for a thorough investigation into his conduct while in office following “weighty allegations ” of abuse of office against him.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, on Wednesday.
In February and March, Nigerians were subjected to extreme difficulty with the Naira redesign and cashless policy due to the scarcity of the new Naira notes.
To make matters worse, Emefiele had earlier refused to heed a Supreme Court ruling which made the old notes legal tender till December 31, before former President Buhari distanced himself from the disobedience to the court order.
Also the media had earlier reported that Emefiele was suspended “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy” according to a release by Willie Bassey, the Director, Information, for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.
“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 release further said.
In February the media reported how the DSS attempted to arrest Emefiele, but the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, shielded him by providing soldiers to guard his residence and office.
The DSS had said it intensified its investigations in order to arrest and prosecute Emefiele, on allegations of terrorism financing and fraud.
SaharaReporters also in February reported that new court documents obtained from the DSS indicted Emefiele for funding “unknown gunmen” terrorising the Southeast region of the country.
DSS investigation revealed that the apex bank governor funded the groups with resources he raised for his failed presidential bid in 2022 and diverted public funds.