Cash withdrawal: Senate postpones hearing of committee’s report

cfa house of reps
cfa house of reps

The Senate on Tuesday postponed the hearing of the report on the Cash withdrawal policy by the committee on Banking and Financial Institutions.

The Red chamber had last week commissioned the committee to grill the two newly re-appointed deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria during their screening session.

However, at the plenary on Tuesday, a member of the committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC Ekiti North) told his colleague that they wouldn’t be able to brief the house as the chairman of the committee, Senator Uba Sani, was not around because he was at the All Progressive Congress rally in Kaduna State. 
Adetunmbi said, “This meeting took place on Thursday last week, the two candidates came for clearance, and the issues were thoroughly asked.

“Especially in the open address by the chairman, he specifically reported the request that the two deputy governors currently serving and seeking the appointment should elaborate and explain the rationale behind this policy in view of the massive public reactions to that policy.”

Adetunmbi added, “The deputy governors gave very elaborate explanations and the committee also requested for further evidence in terms of documented reports that will enable the committee to fully understand the issue behind this policy and be able to brief the plenary appropriately.

“Unfortunately, this report is not ready today because the chairman of this committee is busy on a political assignment in Kaduna. He had to receive important party officials in the presidential train and he has asked me to offer this explanation to the plenary that he is coming tomorrow to actually present the formal report of the findings of the committee.

“This is an apology from the committee that it is not able to take the report as directed last week.”

In response to the statement, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, reiterated the points by Adetunmbi that the senate had directed the committee to dig deep into the issue because they were concerned as many of them had received calls, messages, and even visits by the constituencies expressing concern over the policy.

He said, “We decided that we have an engagement with CBN so that we’re able to hear from the horse’s mouth, and then go ahead and debate it or take whatever appropriate action we may need to take. In addition to what he said, the All Progressives Congress is today holding a zonal rally hosting the presidential candidate of the party in Kaduna, all the seven states, will be converging in Kaduna.

“And you know that our chairman of banking is the gubernatorial candidate of Kaduna state. And naturally, we shouldn’t expect him to be here at this time, because he needs to be there. But we also felt that we should hear from him.”

Lawan who put in some good words for his colleagues, then suggested that the reports be presented to the plenary on Wednesday.  

He added, “The chairman told me the report is ready. But he would like to be here to present the report tomorrow and on the basis of the report that he presents tomorrow, then we can take the next appropriate line of action. “


Also, the lawmaker representing Bauchi North, Adamu Bulkachuwa, who had an opposing view expressed his reservations stating that the Senate should not sweep the issue under the carpet as the policy is that which affects a lot of Nigerians.

He said, “Well, I am happy that you didn’t bang the gavel, whether it is okay to defer this discussion until tomorrow. You didn’t do that.

“So my objection is that we shouldn’t allow this thing to be swept under the carpet. It is a very serious issue. Nigerians are waiting to hear exactly what the National Assembly will do. The House of Representatives have asked the governor of the Central Bank to stop action on this. But in his typical character, he is being stubborn. And I think delaying it until tomorrow is giving him another chance. And we don’t want to hear another excuse. So I urge this Senate to discuss this today and now.”

Lawan in his response, however, stated that he had not in any way suggested that they were trying to sweep the issue under the carpet.

He said, “Well, thank you very much. First of all, when I bang the gavel, I meant that was the ruling, because that was the the majority appeared to agree with that.

”Secondly, I don’t think it’s fair to say I was sweeping this under the carpet, it’s not fair to say that, because my understanding of sweeping something under the carpet is to avoid, nobody here suggested, by any action or inaction that we’re avoiding discussing this thing.

“I think it’s appropriate that we give our colleague, the chairman of the committee, the opportunity to come and present himself.

“And Senator Adetunmbi is a member of the committee, the vice chairman on the committee’s here, the chief whip himself, they were all in attendance, they have something to tell us. But the chairman wants to present the report himself, when he presents the report, we’ll be better informed. Then we can take the next appropriate action.

“I don’t think that is too much to ask. Tomorrow is less than 24 hours, by the grace of God. So please, as long as we are taking the report from the chairman tomorrow, and I want you to be present, so that if there is anything, we feel strong, all of us.

 “All of us here feel strongly about this, because that’s what our constituents feel about. So we cannot just neglect it.

“However, if we are going to debate it, let us do it on the basis of information, because that’s when we can argue to say no, stop it, because of superior argument. So I think we shouldn’t doubt our sincerity here.”