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Senate Passes Bill to Bar CBN Governor, Deputies, Directors from Partisan Politics


Nigeria’s House of Representatives at plenary on Tuesday passed through second reading, a bill seeking to amend Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act 2007 to bar the Governor, Deputy Governors or Directors of the apex bank from partisan politics.

The proposed legislation tilted: “Bill for an Act to Amend Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Act 2007 to add more Conditions for disqualification and Cessation of Appointment as Governor, Deputy Governor or Director of the Bank; and for Related Matters (HB. 2023),” was sponsored by Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina).

The proposed amendment might not be unconnected with the recent push by some groups for the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele to join the presidential race.

Three groups: Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and the Emefiele Support Group had picked the N100 million All Progressives Congress (APC) expression of interest and nomination forms for the CBN Governor.

Though he didn’t join the presidential race, Emefiele had approached the Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order to prevent attempts to stop him from the 2023 Presidency.

Leading the debate on its general principles, the bill’s sponsor, Soli noted that provisions of Section 11 of the principal Act states that: “a person shall not remain a governor, deputy governor or director of the bank if he is a member of any federal or state legislative house; director, officer or employee of any bank and other financial institutions.”

He said the bill seeks to add more provisions to the Principal Act for disqualification of the governor, deputy governors or directors of apex bank who take part in partisan politics.

According to him, the amendment seeks to insert a new sub-section (f) to read that the bank’s chief shall cease to hold office if he or she is a member of a political party or involves in partisan politics.

Soli however said, the bill was intended to restore its credibility from the shock it had suffered in the cause of interpreting the existing law and not against any individual.

He said, “The governor, deputy governor and director shall cease to hold office in the bank if he is (a) incapable of carrying out his duties, (b) convicted of any criminal offense, (c) guilty of any serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this act, (d) disqualified from practicing his profession in Nigeria, (e) becomes bankrupt. Then (e) in the act becomes (g) to add in the principal act by inserting a section 11 (f) “if he’s a member of a political party or a partisan, or involved in partisan politics.

“This amendment is no prejudice to anybody but because the Act was tested and it was found weak, and therefore we need to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the lender of last resort, the bank of federal republic of Nigeria to restore its credibility from the shock it has suffered in the cause of interpreting the law, basically because of the absence of what I am trying to amend.

“Why I am I doing this? Because there was a time CBN Governor went to court seeking for an interpretation whether he can participate in partisan politics. We need to address that. Today the credibility of CBN in custody of sensitive election material is being questioned. It’s not against any individual but to save the integrity of CBN.”

Thereafter the bill was put to a voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase who presided over the session and it was passed.

Also, Tuesday the House of Representatives urged the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fully embrace and adopt the report of the ‘Silencing the Guns’ project aimed at silencing all illegal weapons in Africa, and as well ensure relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) key into the roadmap.

The House also urged the office of the National Security Adviser to fully adopt the report and cascade it down to other relevant security agencies.

The campaign aims to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa, by targeting ways to silence all illegal weapons in the continent.

In December, 2020 the African Union (AU) decided to extend the initiative until 2030.

The resolutions of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ahmed Munir, at plenary.

Moving the motion, Munir noted that, “Silencing the Guns 2030,” is a flagship roadmap project adopted in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016 by the AU with the aim of realising a conflict-free Africa by the year 2030.

He also noted that the concept of silencing the guns was borne out of the observation that the Africa remains the scene of numerous violent conflicts that make the desired economic and political integration of the continent difficult.

“As part of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AU sought to ensure that Africa is characterised by peace, political tolerance and good governance; concerned that initially, the roadmap was to be achieved by 2020 of which the continent fell short and the goal was further extended to 2030.

“Cognisant that peace and security matters across Africa are interwoven and the continent cannot afford to further miss the 2030 set target,” he said

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Foreign Affairs to ensure compliance.

The House of Representatives also called on telecommunications companies to regulate the system of the blocked SIM cards due to the non-availability of National Identity Number (NIN), which still works perfectly when the sims are taken beyond the shores of Nigeria.

The resolution of the lawmakers, was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ahmed Munir.

Moving the motion, Munir stated that since the reason for blocking SIM cards not linked to NIN was to curtail their use for unscrupulous purposes, measures needed to be put in place to ensure the cards do not work when they are roamed abroad.

He said SIM cards had been found to function perfectly when they are taken to as close as Benin Republic, Niger or Chad and roamed.

He urged the telecommunications companies to block the loopholes that make this possible as the reason for the blocking was apt and should not malfunction in this manner, allowing kidnappers and terrorists to take advantage of the loophole. He also urged the Office of the National Security Adviser to ensure this is dealt with forthwith.

The House of Representatives also yesterday extended the mandate of its Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime to cover the period of 2013 to 2022, as well as subsidy payments and forex allocations from 2013 to date as against its earlier scope that the investigation should cover from 2017 to 2021.

This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need for Extension of the Mandate of the Special Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime (Pursuant to Order One, Rule1(2) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives moved by Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata.

Fulata noted that the Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime was constituted on June 31, 2002, with the mandate to investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime in Nigeria to cover the periods from 2013-2021.

“Between January to June 2022, the government has spent about N1.545 trillion on subsidies, a period some of these industry players are involved in the DSDP contract.

“The Committee cannot extend the time to cover the periods outside its mandate,” he said.

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