Naira Redesign: Suspended CBN Governor Emefiele Faces Yet Another Battle with Tinubu's Govt

Naira Redesign: Suspended CBN Governor Emefiele Faces Yet Another Battle with Tinubu's Govt

  • Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, is facing a political battle as he prepares to leave office as the head of the apex bank
  • Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu due to an ongoing investigation of his office and planned reforms in the financial sector
  • His suspension is believed to be connected to controversial policies, including the redesigning of Nigeria's currency, the Naira
  • Additionally, Emefiele has been accused of terrorism financing and other fraudulent activities by the Department of State Services (DSS)

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FCT, Abuja - The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, is currently faced with a new political fight as he makes to bow out of office as the head of the nation's financial and economic sector.

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On Friday night, June 9, the apex bank boss was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.

CBN governor Godwin Emefiele/DSS/Bola Tinubu
Nigeria's secret police DSS probing CBN governor Godwin Emefiele after President Tinubu suspended him. Photo credit: PHILIP OJISUA/AFP
Source: Getty Images

A short statement by Willie Bassey, Director, Information Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), connected the suspension to an ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector.

The statement ordered the CBN boss to immediately vacate his office and hand over to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will continue to act as the Central Bank Governor until the investigation is concluded.

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Analysts believe the reforms referred to may be chiefly due to his monetary policies, especially the redesigning of the Naira.

Emefiele's Naira redesign policy

One of Nigeria's most controversial policies recently was the redesigning of the country's legal tender, the Naira.

Recall that the suspended CBN governor had, in the twilight of the Buhari government, introduced into the sector redesigned Naira notes.

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According to him, the aim was to mop up funds in the hands of corrupt individuals outside the banking sector.

Emefiele had argued that a huge amount of money was outside the banking sector and needed to be returned.

According to the embattled CBN boss, as of September 2022, N2.73 trillion naira of the N3.23 trillion naira bank notes were outside the banking system. He said the ultimate target was to return Nigeria from cash to a cashless economy.

He consequently gave a deadline for the mop-up exercise, urging Nigerians to return the old Naira notes to the banks before the expiration of the deadline.

The redesigned currencies are N200, N500 and N1000 notes. The deadline for the total withdrawal and swap of the old notes with the new ones was earlier fixed for January 31, but the hardship it brought on Nigerians led to a nationwide outcry.

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Most banks had no new notes to swap with old ones; hence, cash withdrawals became almost impossible. This led to another extension personally announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, which was February 10, but the situation even became more terrible, leading to protests in some states nationwide. Governors and other prominent Nigerians joined the battle, with the APC Governors accusing Emefiele of attempting to set the country on fire just to frustrate its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu's aspiration.

Emefiele in political 'war' against governors, others

In the heat of the Naira redesign, most chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and state governors castigated the policy, advising former President Buhari to reverse the policy to save the nation.

Vocal among the governors of the APC was Nasir El-Rufai, who believed Emefiele only cajoled the ex-president into accepting the policy to favour the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to El-Rufai, the PDP appointed Emefiele; hence he was only doing the party's bidding.

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The former Kaduna state governor said:

"He (Emefiele) is the one that put this policy together to help the PDP win the 2023 general elections and deceived the President into thinking that it is possible to withdraw N2trillion from circulation and reprint everything in three months. No country in world history has done it,” he had stated.

He also accused Emefiele and others of deliberately initiating the Naira redesign policy and selling it to Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, and others who failed in their bid for elective office just as revenge against the APC.

Recall that Emefiele had shown interest to contest in the presidential primaries before Buhari asked all political officeholders interested in the 2023 election to resign. Consequently, he withdrew his aspiration.

Also, vehemently opposed to Emefiele's decision were Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state and Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. These two, including El-Rufai, dragged the federal government and the CBN to the Supreme Court, asking for an extension of the withdrawal of the new notes to allow for a gradual mop-up.

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Also involved in the 'war' against Emefiele and the CBN were the then 36 state governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

The governors urged Buhari to extend the timeframe for implementing the Naira Redesign policy.

But not until the Supreme Court ruled against the policy by extending the deadline to December 31, 2023, Emefiele was not moved.

Emefiele in deeper trouble, linked to terrorism financing

Amid the controversial Naira redesign, the DSS accused the CBN Governor of terrorism financing, making several attempts to have him arrested.

A source familiar with the matter said:

He said:

"Remember when there were conflicting reports on his arrest? It was alleged that he was involved in terrorism financing and the DSS wanted to at least question him, but he resisted through the instrumentality of some powerful forces in the presidency and the army.
"But his suspension and arrest are not unexpected. The reason is that he played a terrible role during the 2023 election. A role that almost cost the APC the opportunity to retain power.

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"So there is nothing he can do to save himself. This is what we call Karma."

Though the allegation of terrorism financing has remained unconfirmed by the DSS, a Leadership report on Saturday, June 10, claimed that Emefiele has been linked to a notorious terror financier.

The source did not disclose the details of the DSS investigation.

The DSS, according to the source, also claimed that Emefiele was not only involved in terrorism financing but also engaged so many other fraudulent activities and economic crimes that had threatened national security.

Godwin Emefiele: Osinbajo's aide reveals position on Tinubu's suspension of CBN governor

Meanwhile, Laolu Akande, the erstwhile Senior Special Assistant to former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has called for a thorough probe of Emefiele.

Akande said this in a tweet posted on Saturday night, June 10.

He said that the embattled CBN boss had failed to redeem himself, despite being “given a long rope and fair consideration.”


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Nurudeen Lawal (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) Nurudeen Lawal is an AFP-certified journalist with a wealth of experience spanning over 8 years. He received his B/Arts degree in Literature-in-English from OAU. Lawal is the Head of the Politics/CA Desk at, where he applies his expertise to provide incisive coverage of events. He was named the Political Desk Head of the Year (Nigeria Media Nite-Out Award 2023). He is also a certified fact-checker (Dubawa fellowship, 2020). Contact him at or +2347057737768.

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Adoyi Ali Ali Adoyi is a prolific writer and a graduate of the Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State. Adoyi holds a B.A Theatre and Communications Arts. He has bagged many awards both in academics and in journalism. Some of the awards are 10 years Journalism Merit Award, Best graduating student (Dept) Most Outstanding student (Faculty), and others. Adoyi can be reached here:

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