Lawyers condemn legal action against Emefiele

By The Citizen

A group of lawyers under the aegis of Progressive Lawyers Forum (PLF) yesterday condemned a suit instituted by 10 constitutional lawyers against Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele for money laundering and other offences.

A statement issued yesterday by its leaders, Andrew Idachaba, Dickson H. Irabor and Dr. Nasiru Jikantoro, described the legal action against the CBN governor as a distraction and a project that would not yield any positive result.

The statement said: 'We view the legal action against the CBN governor was a distraction and we believe it is a project that is bound to fail and it will die on arrival, simply because they have no case to justify their action.'

According to the forum, those that filed the legal action were sponsored by some elements that were not at ease with the rising Emefiele's rising profile.

The lawyers, who said although they were not out to defend the governor, noted that on assumption of office, he set out his agenda for economic policy and growth.

The CBN governor, the forum added, has continued to pursue the agenda diligently.

The statement added: 'Today, in our history as a nation, many of our entrepreneurs lack the confidence to display Made-in-Nigeria goods because of the ways and manners the elite have deliberately substituted local products for foreign commodities and yet, we cast blames on individuals for the situations we can all stand and unite to defend.

'It is also public knowledge how this importation has subverted our primary raw materials and thereby putting pressure on the Naira against foreign exchange by importing the secondary produce from the same materials that they took from us.

'In the face of this short-changing, importation and arbitrary tax policies on small businesses, which daily defined our status as a nation, no group or individual has taken responsibility on why our actions and policies do not reflect our paper policy direction. What we think now is that our economic woes are the handiwork of Emefiele and all blames must be heaped on him and, therefore, he must go along with the economic crisis.

'For instance, in spite of all positive indication and phenomenal height for economy growth, especially in the oil sector, the importation of refined petroleum products consumes 35 per cent of our annual import bill and when compared, it is very obvious that very insignificant interest was made from this God-given resources, particularly as it relates to infrastructural development of this same industry, which we depend on for economic sustainability.'

It added: 'We must put these economic blame-games on hold and begin to work collectively as a nation with relevant stakeholders to positively reverse this hash economic reality.

'Emefiele has indeed contributed a lot to the management of our economy through various CBN economic sustainability programmes since he assumed office and in the past few months, he has alerted the nation on some critical issues and measures to take and thus proven the critique of his leadership wrong when the Eighth Senate backed up his economic policies.

'The obviously excited senators affirmed to Nigerians then that, after careful consideration and observation through the CBN policies under Emefiele, the upper legislative house members were in support of these policies, which are aimed at increasing the local production, creating jobs, safeguarding our commonwealth and expanding economic opportunities and growth in Nigeria.

'We strongly believed that changing the CBN governor at this particular point in time will not be a solution to the economic crisis bedevilling the nation.

'The CBN governor is on track. He is a consummate technocrat, whose pedigree cannot be questioned and we believe he has a lot to contribute to the economic recovery of the nation. As such, all stakeholders in the economic sector and Nigerians should rally round him to support the present government's quest to diversify the nation's economy.' The Nation