Prominent human rights attorney, Femi Falana (SAN), has called upon the federal government to initiate legal proceedings against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and the CBN management in connection with the cash shortage experienced in the country earlier this year,leadership reports.

In a statement released recently, Falana alleged that Emefiele and the CBN had provided false information to the Nigerian public regarding the availability of cash, attributing the shortage to the redesign of the nation’s currency.

Falana asserted, “Having misled Nigerians to believe that sufficient cash was distributed to commercial banks to replace the sum of N3.5 trillion withdrawn from customers, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the entire CBN management should face charges of incitement and culpable homicide.”

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Furthermore, Falana demanded that the CBN take responsibility for rebuilding bank facilities that were damaged by disgruntled customers during the aftermath of the cash shortage brought about by the currency redesign policy. He also called for compensation to be provided to the families of those who lost their lives due to public incitement.

He added, “In January 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria claimed that it had supplied the commercial banks in the country with enough cash in line with its currency design policy. The apex bank purportedly directed security agencies to arrest and prosecute bank officials who were accused of sabotaging the new currency policy. Based on the statement, Nigerians trooped to the banks to collect cash. As the cash was insufficient, customers became angry.”

“The mass anger over the cash crunch provoked customers who burnt bank buildings and destroyed Automated Teller Machines in some states. The violence paralyzed social and economic activities, and claimed not less than five lives while many others were injured. But for the Supreme Court, which extended the deadline for the withdrawal of the old Naira notes up until December 31, 2023, the cash crunch would have made life more unbearable for the Nigerian people.”

“Convinced that the suspended governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Emefiele had lied and deceived the Nigerian people, we requested information about the actual amount made available to each of the commercial banks. In its belated response to our request, the CBN has now confirmed that it issued redesigned currency notes of N402 billion to the banks.”

In conclusion, Falana stressed that legal action should be taken against Emefiele and the CBN management for their alleged misconduct, and that the CBN should assume responsibility for rectifying the damage and compensating the affected parties.


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