President Bola Tinubu, on Friday in Paris, France, described Nigeria’s financial system under the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, as “rotten.”
He cited the difficulty in the flow of forex in and out of the country, saying it enriched a few people while impoverishing the vast majority of Nigerians.
“The financial system was rotten. Few people were making away with our money…that is gone now; the man (Emefiele) is in the hands of the authorities,” Tinubu said at his first Diaspora engagement with Nigerians living in France.
Tinubu’s comments come exactly two weeks after the suspended the former CBN chief to pave the way for the investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector, a statement from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation explained.
Emefiele was later arrested and is currently being detained by the Department of State Services as operatives combed his Lagos residence, where they reportedly recovered some vital documents.
The embattled Emefiele has since approached the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja to challenge his detention by the DSS.
Speaking further in France on Friday, Tinubu said his administration would implement further financial reforms in the coming weeks.
He said while addressing Nigerians residents in France, “Then, the financial system was rotten. Few people were making away with our money and then you yourselves, stopped sending money home to our poor parents.
“That is gone now. The man (Emefiele) is in the hands of authorities; something is being done about that; they will sort themselves out.
“We have security challenges in the country. Maybe that is how they are fuelling insecurity; we have to look at everything. We will change the financial system; it will work for you.”
The President said he and his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Mr Wale Edun, turned the fortunes of Lagos State around between 1999 and 2003 moving the internally generated revenue from N600m annually to N50bn monthly.
“Now, Lagos is on auto pilot. Anybody intelligent enough can navigate it,” he added.
Tinubu also promised to work for those who did not vote for him during the February 25 election in which he was declared the winner.
“Whether you voted for me or you didn’t vote for me, I am your president. By the grace of God, I have to work on your behalf,” he explained.
The President who described Nigeria’s challenges as “enormous,” said he was prepared for the job ahead of him.
Tinubu stated, “So, your President is here. I danced for it and I have to continue to be prepared for it.
“The challenges are enormous. But do we have hope? Yes. With perseverance, determination and persistence, we can achieve whatever we desire.”
He also noted that he, like some in the audience, had experienced the rough side of Diaspora life, saying “I know the road and I’ve been through what many of you have been through outside the country. I’ve been in America and in the UK; I had been a night guard, security man and a door man in America. But I have achieved my aim.”
Meanwhile, Tinubu on Friday in Paris said Nigeria was ready to work with the Republic of Benin towards economic prosperity as both countries needed each other, especially on issues of trade, security and border controls.
“We must recognise the fact that we need each other. We are in a loop and no one should separate us,” Tinubu said when he received the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, after the summit on New Global Financing Pact.
The President’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, in a statement, described Nigeria’s relations with Benin as that of Siamese twins. Tinubu assured Talon that his administration would always be open and accessible to all neighbouring countries.
Responding, Talon said he was inspired with renewed hope for the sub-region and Africa at the inauguration of President Tinubu in Abuja, pledging to provide support on trade and security policy, especially at the borders.