President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Friday suspended Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
What is the position of the law concerning the removal of the CBN Governor from office?
Section 11 of the Central Bank Act 2007 defines the conditions upon which a central bank governor can be removed from office.
According to the Act, the president has the power to terminate the appointment of a central bank governor if he gets two-thirds majority of the Senate.
Taiwo Oyedele, head of tax and corporate advisory services at PwC, said based on section 11(2) of the CBN Act, the CBN Governor may be removed by the President if the removal is supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be removed.
However, he said the CBN Governor is said to have been suspended rather than removed from office. One of the grounds which perhaps supports the action of the President is that the CBN Governor may be removed if he is guilty of a serious misconduct in relation to his duties under the CBN Act.
“Therefore, it would appear to be in order to suspend the Governor while he is being investigated for possible misconduct. There are also precedents in this regard,” Oyedele said.
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The Governor can also be removed if he is convicted of a criminal offense by a court of competent jurisdiction except for traffic offenses.
“The Governor, Deputy Governor or Director shall cease to hold office in the Bank if he becomes of unsound mind or, owing to ill health, is incapable of carrying out his duties: is convicted of any criminal offense by a court of competent jurisdiction except for traffic offenses or contempt proceedings arising in connection with the execution or intended execution of any power or duty conferred under this Act or the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act.” the CBN act states.
The Governor can also be removed if he “is guilty of a serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this Act; disqualified or suspended from practicing his profession in Nigeria by order of a competent authority made in respect of him personally; Becomes bankrupt.”
The CBN Act also gives the Presidency power to terminate the appointment of the CBN but dependent on lawmakers’ backing.
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“The CBN Governor can be removed by the President, Provided that the removal of the Governor shall be supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be removed.”