Laolu Akande, media adviser to former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday decried how Godwin Emefiele had a free reign over Nigeria’s treasury under the erstwhile administration of Muhammadu Buhari, using policies to steal money while sabotaging the nation’s economy.
Mr Emefiele was ousted from office as the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday evening, in a move critics said was unconstitutional since President Bola Tinubu was not allowed by existing law to remove the CBN governor. Mr Tinubu’s move was also expected to rile up investors, who have long expected a central bank free from political interference in Nigeria.
Mr Emefiele was arrested in Lagos on Saturday and transported to Abuja by the State Security Service, which said the former CBN chief will be answering questions about his role at the CBN since June 2014. Mr Emefiele could not be reached for comments, and it was unclear if he had retained lawyers since being taken into custody.
“His shenanigans the colossal damages he perpetrated at the CBN were to the utter detriment of the Nigerian people,” Mr Akande said on Twitter. “This is not even about cashless policy, but apparent corruption especially in the dual exchange rate policy which never made sense. What a sigh of relief.”
Mr Akande served as a presidential spokesperson attached to the vice-president’s office for eight years starting in 2015. He once issued a statement for Mr Osinbajo criticising Mr Emefiele, who regularly courted public controversy for his handling of the nation’s exchange rate regime.
In October 2021, Mr Akande’s statement for his principal said Mr Emefiele was supervising unbridled corruption in the foreign exchange market in Nigeria. Mr Emefiele denied the allegations, and it was unclear whether Mr Osinbajo proposed any official measures to investigate or exert sanctions on the CBN chief to the president.
“It was about time CBN Governor faced suspension & investigation,” Mr Akande added, saying the former CBN boss “was given a long rope, but he failed to redeem himself” by the Buhari-Osinbajo regime.
Mr Emefiele appeared to be the first Buhari regime official to be arrested and held on fraud charges by Mr Tinubu’s administration, with anti-corruption experts saying many of Mr Buhari’s aides are likely to be held on similar charges for their yearslong looting of the nation’s treasury.