The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, said on Tuesday that the bank would oppose any review of the country’s laws seeking to impose a jail sentence on Nigerians keeping foreign currencies in their homes.
The governor, who said the bank would not also support the confiscation of such currencies, was reacting to speculations that the government was considering a review of existing laws to empower security operatives to arrest persons keeping foreign currencies.
“There is no foreign exchange regulation that says people should be jailed, or their dollars confiscated for keeping foreign currencies in their homes,” Mr. Emefiele said.
Although he said the bank was aware the Nigerian Law Reform Commission was considering a review of the exchange regulations, as part of its routine responsibilities, he said the CBN was yet to be informed of the extent of the exercise.
The Commission responsible for the review of laws in the country, depending on the exigencies of the time.
However, Mr. Emefiele, who was speaking at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said the CBN was yet to be contacted on the clauses to be included in the review being canvassed by the Commission.
“The CBN has not been contacted by the Commission. But, whether or not it does, I am saying here categorically that if we are contacted, or whenever it becomes an issue for discussion, we will advise against a clause that forbids people from keeping their dollars, if they choose to. We will oppose any law that says people should be jailed for keeping foreign currencies,” he said.
“There is nothing in the current or extant foreign currency regulations that says people should be jailed, or their foreign currencies confiscated. I advise people to stop listening to rumour mongers and go about their normal businesses.”
Written by Okolo Ezinne