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Buhari unaware of the depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves under Emefiele – Tinubu’s Aide

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Ajuri Ngelale 1

Ajuri Ngelale, the spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, stated that the previous president, Muhammad Buhari, was unaware of the foreign reserves’ depletion by the former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele. 

Ngelale, in a recent interview, pointed out that the former president did not authorize the bulk of the expenditures from the foreign reserves, amounting to billions of dollars. 

The spokesperson for the president mentioned that the majority of the apex bank’s operations are directly managed by the CBN governor, who also holds the position of chairman on the bank’s board of directors. 

  • “What was done concerning the expenditure of billions of dollars from the foreign reserves was done largely without the approval or knowledge of President Muhammad Buhari and President Bola Tinubu.  
  • “Yes, that might seem hard for some people to believe, but I want to explain how that could have happened.  
  • “We have one of the few Central Banks in the world where the day-to-day CEO was the governor of the Central Bank and was also the chairman of the board of directors. He was essentially overseeing himself,” Ajuri explained.  

Naira redesign policy attack on Nigerians 

Reacting to the cash crunch under Emefiele due to the Naira redesign policy, Ngelale said the policy was an attack on the Nigerian people rather than a political attack on President Bola Tinubu.  

According to him, many people who were not involved in any form of corruption were adversely affected by the policy, emphasizing that they were unable to access their hard-earned money.  

He further stated that Emefiele was solely responsible for the policy. 

  • “I do understand that, yes, there was the Naira scarcity. The CBN had its role in that. I don’t think that was an attack on President Bola Tinubu as an individual as much as that was an attack on the Nigerian people.  
  • “We had millions of people who were on minimum wage and above, who were not issuing corrupt contracts. They were not involved in any type of malfeasance. They go to work every morning and come back late. Then they get to the bank and can’t access their own hard-earned money.  
  • “When you have people for example in the North dying in hospital because they cannot access money that they earn legitimately because of the move of some people in the CBN, I think that is the type of activity that will attract a curse that will be difficult for any man to escape,” he stated.  

What you should know  

In 2023, Nigeria’s foreign reserve significantly dropped due to foreign obligations and a reduction in oil production, leading to increased volatility in the foreign exchange market.  

  • In its report, Global financial service firm JP Morgan estimated Nigeria’s net FX reserves to be around $3.7 billion much lower than the net figure of $14 billion reported at the end of 2021. 
  • Meanwhile, this claim was countered by the CBN which claimed fluctuations, liabilities, and encumbrances to the reserves were only natural and normal. 
  • The new CBN governor, Yemi Cardoso, however, noted that the apex bank met about $7 billion in backlog obligations, adding that the bank has cleared about $2.3 billion of the backlog since his emergence his governor.  
  • Cardoso noted that the FX reserves have risen to $34 billion.  
  • According to him, the increase in the gross foreign reserves in February was driven by the elevated crude oil prices, an increase in oil production, and reforms from the apex bank.   

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