Emefiele Takes Oath of Office Today

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele
 • Reappointment excites CBN staff 
• Court dismisses suit challenging stamp duty collection by banks

Davidson Iriekpen  and Obinna Chima

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, will formally assume office for a second term of five years today.

In line with tradition, Emefiele is expected to take the oath of office to be administered on him today by the Director, Corporate Services Department, CBN.

THISDAY also gathered that excited CBN staff will today give the governor a special reception into the apex bank in commemoration of his second tenure.

This is coming as the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, has struck out a suit challenging a circular issued by Emefiele on January 15, 2016, directing banks and other financial institutions to enforce the collection of N50 stamp duty on electronic transfers and teller deposits from N1,000 and above (Eligible Bank Transactions).

Just like he did at the beginning of his first tenure, Emefiele may in the coming days unfold his agenda for the central bank for his  new five-year tenure, which will elapse in 2024.

The Senate had last month confirmed the reappointment of Emefiele as governor of the CBN.

This was sequel to the presentation of the report of the Senator Adebayo Ibrahim-led Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions that screened the nominee.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on May 8 submitted the name of Emefiele to the Senate for consideration for a fresh term in office.

A source told THISDAY that central bank staff were excited by the reappointment of Emefiele.

“We would welcome him specially today in appreciation of his well-deserved reappointment. It is also to demonstrate our support for the policies he has been implementing since his first term as well as what he has done for staff welfare,” he said, adding: “We, however, expect him to do much more for the economy and staff welfare going forward.”

Emefiele, recently tasked policy makers in all sectors of the economy, particularly political leaders who had witnessed “the good old days” in the country, to take up the responsibility of ensuring that the system works again.

The CBN boss had also said he would like to be remembered as one who did his best to get the country working again by the time he retires from public office and challenged other public officeholders to have a similar mindset.

He had said: “It will be selfish for those of us who saw this country when it was good, being in a position of policy-making, to allow the current bad trend to continue.

“We owe it as a responsibility as policy makers, whether in the educational sector, in the banking sector, in the political arena to see to it that you contribute your best, your quota towards changing the situation for the better in our country.

“I have had the opportunity of traveling out of the country. Some of you who know Dubai can imagine what Dubai was 20 years ago. Today, Dubai is a tourist attraction to anybody. Let’s leave Dubai. Some of us who read economics during the Asian crisis, 1997 to 2000/2001, know the kind of crisis that hit the Far East countries- the Asian countries.

“They were so badly hit but out of adversity, they turned their situation round.”

Court Throws out Suit Challenging Emefiele’s Circular

In another development, a Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a suit challenging a circular issued by Emefiele, on January 15, 2016 directing banks and other financial institutions to enforce collection of N50 stamp duty on electronic transfers and teller deposits from N1,000 and above.

The applicants – Incorporated Trustees of Laws and Rights Awareness Initiative and Mr. Victor Adeyon, had commenced the suit against the CBN on February 9, 2017 praying the court for an order of mandamus to compel Emefiele to issue another circular redirecting DMB’s to stop deducting and remitting N50 as stamp duty on eligible banking transactions.

The applicants, through a motion filed by their counsel, Mr. Olumide Babalola, had sought a declaration that by virtue of the decision in CA/L/437A/2014 Standard Chartered Bank v Kasmal International Services Ltd (Appeal No: SC/524/2016) delivered on April 21, 2016, the respondent ought to have issued another circular directing banks to stop deducting and remitting stamp duties from cash deposits and/or electronic transfers of over N1,000.

The CBN, through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), leading Mr. Moruf Sowunmi, Ms. Tosin Kachikwu, Ms. Bridget Osazuwa, Mr. Daniel Olikah, Mr. Ibrahim Muhammed and Ms. Kamilah Alegeh opposed the applicants’ suit and challenged the legality of the remedy being sought by the applicants.

It argued that the court is not vested with the jurisdiction to entertain the matter as the claim was statute-barred.

It stated that the judgment, which the applicants sought to enforce is the subject of an appeal at the Supreme Court and that the respondent was an agent of a disclosed principal of the bank, among others.

In delivering his judgment, Justice Chuka Obiozor held that the applicants failed to prove that they were entitled to an order of mandamus compelling the respondent to issue another circular directing deposit money banks to stop deducting and remitting stamp duties from cash deposits and/or electronic transfers.

The court further ruled that the suit had been overtaken by events by virtue of a prior Federal High Court decision on the same subject matter in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/126/2016 – Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited V. Citibank Nigeria Limited & CBN.

It reasoned that since there was a subsisting judgment in respect of the same subject matter it was unnecessary to grant the reliefs sought by the applicants and consequently struck out the suit.