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Reps Committee rejects 10-day extension deadline for old naira notes

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The Ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives looking into the recall of old Naira notes has rejected the 10-day extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, earlier announced the extension of the deadline till 10 February from the initial 31 January.

Mr Emefiele announced the extension after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at his country home in Daura, Katsina State.

The Chairman of the Committee, Alhassan Doguwa, in a statement on Sunday, described the new deadline of 10 February as a political gimmick and urged Mr Emefiele to comply with section 20 of the CBN Act or risk a warrant of arrest.

Federal lawmakers have insisted that commercial banks must accept the old notes three months after the expiration of the deadline.

“Notwithstanding Sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the Bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this Sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the Bank upon demand,” section 20(3) reads.

Speaking on the latest extension, Mr Doguwa said the House is not shifting ground unless Mr Emefiele complies with the law.

“The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign the arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Ad hoc committee,” he said.

Mr Doguwa added that “Security agencies and their operations especially at the state level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections.”

Mr Emefiele shunned two invitations of the committee during the week, prompting the lawmakers to threaten to invoke section 89 of the constitution.

The lawmakers also postponed their planned recess to resolve the impasse over the currency swap.

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