In Paris, France, on Friday, President Bola Tinubu characterized Nigeria’s financial system, during the tenure of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, as “corrupt.”
He highlighted the challenges associated with the movement of foreign exchange into and out of the nation, pointing out that it benefited a select few individuals while causing economic hardship for the 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.
According to a statement from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, President Bola Tinubu’s remarks were made precisely two weeks after the suspension of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
This suspension was enacted to facilitate an investigation into his office and to facilitate planned reforms in the financial sector.
Following his suspension, Emefiele was subsequently arrested and is presently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), who conducted a search of his Lagos residence and reportedly discovered significant documents.
In response to his ongoing predicament, Emefiele has taken legal action by approaching the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja to challenge his detention by the DSS.
During his speech in France on Friday, Tinubu reiterated his commitment to implementing additional financial reforms in the upcoming weeks.
He said while addressing Nigerian 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.”
In addition, Tinubu expressed his confidence in his ability to navigate the city of Lagos, stating that it is currently functioning smoothly without much intervention. He stated, “Now, Lagos is on autopilot. Anybody intelligent enough can navigate it.”
Furthermore, Tinubu made a promise to serve and work for the interests of those who did not vote for him in the February 25 election, in which he was declared the winner. He explained, “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.”
Acknowledging the significant challenges faced by Nigeria, Tinubu affirmed his preparedness to tackle the tasks ahead. He 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.”
Tinubu shared his personal experiences of facing hardships abroad, similar to some members of the audience. He mentioned that he had worked various jobs in America, including as a night guard, security man, and doorman, but he successfully accomplished his goals.
Meanwhile, during his visit to Paris, Tinubu emphasized the importance of collaboration between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin for economic prosperity. He stated that both countries rely on each other, particularly in areas of trade, security, and border control. Tinubu received President Patrice Talon of the Benin Republic and assured him that his administration would maintain an open and accessible approach to neighboring countries.
In response, President Talon expressed his optimism for the sub-region and Africa following Tinubu’s inauguration in Abuja. He pledged to provide support in trade and security policies, particularly at the borders.