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Nigeria arrests suspended Central Bank governor Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, who was suspended from his post as governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank on Friday, has been detained by the country’s security services. He served in the post for nearly a decade.

Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) announced that Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the country’s central bank, was detained on Saturday.

“The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons,” read a statement released by the agency Saturday.

Emefiele, who served as governor of the bank for nine years, had been removed from his post on Friday evening by Nigeria’s recently installed president, Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu, who came to power in late May after a contested February vote, was elected on the promise of reforming the country. On Friday evening, his office said Emefiele had been suspended as part of an, “ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the banking sector.”

What led to Emefiele’s arrest?

The DSS attempted to arrest Emefiele in December under suspicion of terrorism funding and other economic crimes, yet a court blocked it from doing so for lack of proof. It is unclear whether Emefiele’s Saturday arrest was the result of new findings.

Emefiele had been roundly criticized for a number of decisions made while running the Central Bank of Africa’s largest economy, most recently for the replacement of old currency with new notes in an attempt to crack down on corruption as well as cash ransom payments to kidnappers.

The move led to a shortage of cash in the continent’s most-populous country.

The bank’s decision to print and lend money to the Nigerian central government was also a point of contention as it added heavily to the country’s high inflation, which stood at 22% in April.

Emefiele was immediately replaced by Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, a deputy governor.

Emefiele had challenged Tinubu for the presidential nomination

A powerful figure in his post at the top of the Central Bank, Emefiele also challenged Tinubu in party primaries to be the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the office of the presidency.

For his part, Tinubu’s tenure as president got off to a rocky start when he immediately slashed long-established fuel subsidies on the day he was inaugurated. Fuel prices rose sharply on the news.

He also took over a series of serious economic challenges including record debt, shortages of foreign exchange currencies, a weak naira, high inflation and patchy electricity supply.

Source: Deutsche Welle