Moving Departments Of CBN To Lagos, Politically Motivated – HURIWA Declares

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…Says, it’s drawing the hands of the clock backwards

A civil rights advocacy group on the aegis of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has kicked against the plan by the new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso to transfer some departments of the banking chief regulator to Lagos.

HURIWA said the decision which is political, directly smacks of and is reminiscent of the notoriously petty politics that go on in some states of the Federation whereby governors newly elected and sworn-in, rapidly move state universities to their local government areas of nativity.

Besides, HURIWA said it makes no logical sense to give a reason of attempting to decongest the Abuja headquarters of the CBN as a reason for transferring departments of the CBN to Lagos when that same reason of over-congestion of the entire Lagos state was the fundamental reason why the Federal capital territory, Abuja was set up in the first place by law which is subsisting and binding on all persons and authorities as Nigeria’s Federal capital and seat of government.

These were contained in a statement by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, saying that the decision by the new CBN Governor is tantamount to disrespecting section 298 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which states unambiguously that the Federal capital territory, Abuja SHALL be the capital of the Federation and seat of government of the Federation.

HURIWA argued that the enabling Act that set up the CBN prescribe the legal functions to include that it is the official Banker of the government of the Federation which emphatically means that the CBN must be domiciled wherever the seat of government is located by law which for now is Abuja the federal capital Territory.

It also said that the CBN is to issue legal tender currency in Nigeria; maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency; promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and. act as Banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

HURIWA said it was a fallacy to say that some departments must be domiciled in Lagos because of the puerile and laughable reason that most banks have their headquarters in Lagos as if the CBN is subservient or is supposed to follow the operational plans of commercial banks.

It pointedly accused the CBN governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso of executing ethnic agenda by attempting to move strategic departments of the CBN to his state of origin which is Lagos and wondered if erstwhile governor of apwex bank for almost a decade, Mr. Emefiele had moved some departments to Asaba, the Delta State capital, which is his state of origin whether the Lagos born CBN governor will still have other departments to move to Lagos as is being contemplated. HURIWA therefore urged the CBN Governor to perish the politically toxic plot, stressing that will be very a dangerous precedent if a Kano State born person becomes Governor of CBN someday, he or she could also move some departments of the CBN to Kano.

The statement further said; “We think Mr. Cardoso, the Lagos man may be seeing his designation as governor just like that of elected political office of a governor which is why he is trying to experiment with the unethical practice of some governors in some states who upon getting inaugurated, decide in a thoughtless and whimsical manner to relocate long established state owned universities from where they were originally located to their own side of the state as if to say the state is their personal property.

“The decision or plot to relocate departments of CBN to Lagos is politically motivated and must never be allowed to happen or else we will wake up one morning to hear that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has moved the State House back to Lagos which by law stopped being the Federal capital the moment Abuja became the FCT by the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military regime in the early 1990s,”” it said.

HURIWA also faulted the plan to relocate the departments to Lagos because the headquarters of Banks are in Lagos when in actual facts those commercial banks should’ve been asked to set up their corporate or administrative offices in Abuja by virtue of the fact that Abuja by law is the FCT of Nigeria.

The Rights group said the new hierarchy of the CBN by planning to move departments of the bank to Lagos is dragging the hand of the clock backwards in Nigeria.

According to HURIWA; “If the CBN new head argues that the Abuja headquarters is congested, it therefore means that all kinds of persons that were not needed in the running of CBN were employed because politicians imposed them on the CBN. The CBN building in Lagos is obviously too tiny to accommodate those staff who might be taken to an over congested Lagos state.

“This ethnic agenda by the Lagos born CBN Governor must be aborted and the CBN is a banking regulator of all of Nigeria and not for banks domiciled in Lagos only,” it said.

HURIWA noted that some staff members of the bank have reportedly resisted the transfer and claimed that it is motivated by tribal sentiment, adding that the departments penciled down for relocation by Yemi Cardoso included; Banking Supervision; Other Financial Institutions Supervision; Consumer Protection Department; Payment System Management Department and Financial Policy Regulations Department.

HURIWA therefore urged the National Assembly to call the new CBN governor Mr. Olayemi Cardoso to order so as not to unwittingly use ethnic politics to poison and kill such a national institution like the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It argued that all departments of CBN headquarters must be in Abuja whilst those staff already in the Lagos office should be instructed to handle assignments involving banks based in Lagos, stressing that in a digital age like ours, the CBN doesn’t have to physically locate staff to Lagos to carry out their tasks of regulating the banking sector.

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